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Unemployment Rates Down in Most Metro Areas

Unemployment rates were lower in August than a year earlier in 340 of the 388…

  • October 30, 2018

Unemployment rates were lower in August than a year earlier in 340 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 35 areas, and unchanged in 13 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Fifty-seven areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and two areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 60 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 328 areas.

The national unemployment rate in August was 3.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 4.5 percent a year earlier.

Ames, Iowa Wins Again

In August, Ames, Iowa, had the lowest unemployment rate, 1.7 percent. Yuma, AZ, and El Centro, CA, had the highest unemployment rates, 22.0 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively.

A total of 189 areas had August jobless rates above the U.S. rate of 3.9 percent, 186 areas had rates below it, and 13 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

The largest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases occurred in Bay City, MI, and Muskegon, MI (-2.0 percentage points each).

Seventy-five additional areas had rate declines of at least 1.0 percentage point. Colorado Springs, CO, had the largest over-the-year rate increase in August (+0.9 percentage point).

Among Bigger City Areas, Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Comes Out on Top (Bottom)

Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI, had the lowest unemployment rate in August, 2.5 percent.

New Orleans-Metairie, LA, had the highest jobless rate among the large areas, 5.3 percent, closely followed by Cleveland-Elyria, OH, 5.2 percent.

Forty-six large areas had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases and five had increases. The largest rate decrease occurred in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI (-1.4 percentage points). The largest over-the-year rate increase was in Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO (+0.6 percentage point).

Eleven of the most populous metropolitan areas are made up of 38 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers.

San Francisco-Area Tops “Biggest Cities” Metros

In August, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA, had the lowest unemployment rate among the divisions, 2.3 percent, closely followed by San Rafael, CA, 2.4 percent. Philadelphia, PA, had the highest division rate, 5.5 percent.

In August, 35 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, 1 had an increase, and 2 had no change. The largest rate decline occurred in Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL (-1.8 percentage points).

The lone over-the-year rate increase was marginal (+0.1 percentage point in Nashua, NH-MA).

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