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Unemployment Lower in Most U.S. Cities

Unemployment rates were lower in May than a year earlier in 254 of the 389…

  • July 20, 2019

Unemployment rates were lower in May than a year earlier in 254 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 94 areas, and unchanged in 41 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

A total of 119 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and 2 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 46 metropolitan areas, decreased in 2 areas, and was essentially unchanged in 341 areas.

The national unemployment rate in May was 3.4 percent, not seasonally adjusted, and was little changed from a year earlier.

In May, Ames, IA, and Burlington-South Burlington, VT, had the lowest unemployment rates, 1.5 percent each, followed by Midland, TX, 1.7 percent; Iowa City, IA, 1.8 percent; and Dubuque, IA, 1.9 percent. Yuma, AZ, and El Centro, CA, had the highest unemployment rates, 17.1 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively.

A total of 197 areas had May jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 3.4 percent, 178 areas had rates above it, and 14 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

Ocean City, NJ, had the largest over-the-year unemployment rate decrease in May (-2.3 percentage points).

An additional 10 areas had rate declines of at least 1.0 percentage point. The largest over-the-year rate increases occurred in Flint, MI (+1.3 percentage points), and Yakima, WA (+1.1 points).

Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, Austin-Round Rock, TX; San Francisco Oakland-Hayward, CA; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, had the lowest unemployment rates in May, 2.2 percent each.

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI, had the highest jobless rate among the large areas, 4.3 percent. Forty large areas had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, seven had increases, and four had no change.

The largest rate declines occurred in Cleveland-Elyria, OH, and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX (-0.9 percentage point each). The largest jobless rate increase was in Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI (+0.8 percentage point).