The national BLS “The Employment Situation report – September 2014” report showed an unexpected surge in employment, adding 248,000 new jobs to the economy – 100,000+ more jobs than the previous month. Economists are hopeful that this upswing will continue as we enter into the fourth quarter.
Looking to the BLS’ latest “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report, both regional and state unemployment rates saw little change in the United States during the month of August. Last month, the national unemployment rate showed little change, dropping just .1 percentage points to 6.2 – 1.1 percentage points lower than August 2013. Overall unemployment changes have been positive, with forty-five states and the District of Columbia showing unemployment rate decreases over the past 12 months.
Looking deeper into the August metro area numbers, Bismarck, North Dakota continues to lead the nation with the lowest unemployment rate — at 2.2 percent, a decline of 0.2 percentage points from July. Of the 322 metropolitan areas, eleven areas had jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent and 84 areas had rates below 5.0 percent. The rest hovered around the national average.
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In other positive news, employment increased in 306 of 372 metropolitan areas, decreased in 57 areas and was unchanged in 9 areas. Looking at the past year, the largest over-the-year employment increases occurred in New York, Northern New Jersey, Long Island, N.Y., N.J.- Pa. (+156,500), Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (+107,400) and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+101,500).
The Highlights by Region
Check out these key regional highlights from the BLS “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment — August 2014” report:
- Mid–Atlantic: By the end of August, the Mid-Atlantic region showed an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent (the same as the previous month). Philadelphia City, PA had the largest rate decline from a year earlier (-2.2 percentage points), however they actually tied for the highest unemployment rate in the region with 8.4 percent, along with Danville, VA. Morgantown, WV reported the lowest unemployment rate at 4.9 percent.
- Midwest: The Midwest region showed an impressive unemployment rate of 5.8 percent (-0.1 percent) in the month of August. Leading the charge in this region was North Dakota, who had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.8 percent. By city, Bismarck, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate with an impressive 2.2 (-0.2 percentage points from the previous month). Michigan had the highest unemployment rate at 7.4 (-0.3 from the previous month).
- Mountain-Plains: By month’s end, Nevada realized the largest unemployment rate decrease in the region with a 2.2 percent decrease from the previous year, though the state once again came in last in the region with 7.6 percent unemployment (-0.1 percentage points from the previous month). Yuma, AZ continues to have the highest unemployment rates in the country, with 28.0 percent (-1.3 percentage points from the previous month).
- New England: The New England region showed a 0.1 percent increase in their unemployment rate, rising to 5.9. Vermont’s Burlington-South Burlington metro area recorded the lowest unemployment rate of the region, as it dropped 0.1 percent to 3.5 percent in August. The highest unemployment rate in the region came in at Lawrence-Methuen-Salem MA, NH with 10.3 percent.
- Southeast: The Southeast region saw the most significant over-the-month unemployment rate increase – increasing 0.2 percent from 6.1 to 6.3 percent. Kentucky (-1.3 percentage points) and North Carolina (-1.2 percentage points) had the largest unemployment rate declines from August 2013 and Florida had one of the largest over-the-month employment increases (+22,700 new jobs). Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL tied had the lowest unemployment rate in the region with a showing of 4.9 percent.
- Southwest: The Southwest region’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.3 percent in the month of August. Leading the charge in this region was Oklahoma, who had the lowest unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission had the highest rate of unemployment at 9.8 percent. This region saw great growth in Texas – adding 20,100 new jobs.
- West: The west continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 6.6 percent (the same as the previous month). Within the region, Utah touts the lowest unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, with Logan, UT-ID coming in at 3.1 percent. Once again, California has experienced the largest over-the-month job increases by adding 44,200 in August, and 313,900 since August of 2013. Within the state, El Centro, CA continues to have the highest unemployment rate at 25.1 percent.