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Burlington, Vermont Has the Lowest Unemployment Rate in the Country

As we await the latest jobs numbers from the Labor Department (for January) it’s a…

  • February 23, 2020

As we await the latest jobs numbers from the Labor Department (for January) it’s a good time to catch up on the regional differences in employment/unemployment around the country. Today, we’re looking at employment trends by metro area.

According to BLS, unemployment rates were lower in December than a year earlier in 266 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 101 areas, and unchanged in 22 areas.

A total of 136 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and 3 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 45 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in the remaining 344 areas. The national unemployment rate in December was 3.4 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 3.7 percent a year earlier.

In December, Burlington-South Burlington, VT, and Logan, UT-ID, had the lowest unemployment rates, 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

El Centro, CA, had the highest unemployment rate, 19.4 percent.

A total of 212 areas had December jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 3.4 percent, 162 areas had rates above it, and 15 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

Panama City, FL, had the largest over-the-year unemployment rate decrease in December (-3.1 percentage points). Forty-nine other areas had rate declines of at least 1.0 percentage point. The largest over-the-year rate increase occurred in El Centro, CA (+1.7 percentage points).

Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, Salt Lake City, UT, had the lowest unemployment rate in December, 2.0 percent.

Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY, had the highest jobless rate among the large areas, 4.7 percent. Thirty-nine large areas had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, 10 had increases, and 2 had no change.

The largest rate decreases occurred in Cleveland-Elyria, OH (-1.5 percentage points), and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO (-1.3 points). The largest jobless rate increase was in Pittsburgh, PA (+0.8 percentage point).

Among the biggest metros, eleven of the most populous metropolitan areas are made up of 38 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers.

In December, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL, and San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA, had the lowest unemployment rates among the divisions, 1.8 percent each. Philadelphia, PA, and Tacoma-Lakewood, WA, had the highest division rates, 5.0 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.

In December, 30 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, 6 had increases, and 2 had no change. The largest rate decline occurred in Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (-1.7 percentage points). The largest over-the-year jobless rate increase occurred in Philadelphia, PA (+0.6 percentage point).