The national BLS “The Employment Situation — May 2014” report showed a surge in employment, adding 217,000 new jobs to the economy, the fourth straight month to show 200,000+ job gains. Economists are hopeful that this continual upswing will prove to be permanent recovery from the Great Recession.
Both regional and state unemployment rates continued to fall for the majority of the Unites States metropolitan areas, according to the BLS’ latest “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report.
In April, the national unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 6.3, a whopping 1.2 percentage points lower than the previous year. 357 of the 372 areas showed a lower unemployment rate from the April 2013 number. Only 12 metro areas reported higher unemployment (18 less than the previous year), while 3 showed unchanged data (compared to 14 last year).
Looking deeper into the April metro area numbers, Bismark, North Dakota — at 2.6 percent —led the nation with the lowest unemployment rate. In total, 19 states had jobless rates significantly lower than the US figure of 6.3, while 7 states and DC had higher rates, and 24 states had rates that were not measurably different than the national average.
In other positive news, employment increased in 302 of 372 metropolitan areas, decreased in 63 areas and was unchanged in 7 areas. Additionally, 30 of the 32 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year employment gains and 2 had losses since April 2013. The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment among these divisions occurred in Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+4.2 percent), followed by Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Florida and Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Florida (+3.3 percent each).
Here are some key regional highlights from the BLS “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment — April 2014 report:
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By the end of April, the Mid-Atlantic region showed an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent (-0.2 percent from the previous month). Philadelphia, PA had the largest rate decline from a year earlier (-2.2 percentage points). State College, PA reported the lowest unemployment rate at 3.5 percent, while Salisbury, MD recorded the highest at 7.2 percent.
The Midwest region showed an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in the month of April. Leading the charge in this region was North Dakota, who had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.6 percent. By city, Ames, Iowa had the lowest unemployment rate with an impressive 2.7 (-0.5 percentage points from the previous month). Regarding employment, the largest over-the-year percentage increase in job growth occurred in North Dakota (+5.2 percent).
By month’s end, Nevada once again realized the largest unemployment rate decrease in the region with a 2.1 percent decrease from the previous year, though the state still came in last in the region with 8 percent unemployment (-0.5 percentage points from the previous month). Yuma, AZ continues to have one of the largest unemployment rates in the country, with 23.8 percent (+1.2 percentage points from the previous month).
The New England region showed a 0.2 percent decrease in their unemployment rate, falling to 6.1. Vermont’s Burlington-South Burlington metro area recorded the lowest unemployment rate of the region, as it dropped 0.5 percent to 2.8 percent in April. The highest unemployment rate in the region remained at Lawrence-Methuen-Salem MA-NH for the second month in a row with a 9.6 percent unemployment rate.
The Southeast region showed an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent in the month of April. South Carolina (-2.6 percentage points) and North Carolina (-2.2 points) had the largest unemployment rate declines from April 2013. Florida had one of the largest over-the-month employment increases, adding 34,000 new jobs. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Florida also had the lowest unemployment rate in the region with a 4.1 percent showing.
The Southwest region showed an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in the month of April. Leading the charge in this region was Louisiana, who had the lowest unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. The Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway areas had the highest rate of unemployment at 8.4 percent. The good news for this region is that Texas saw the largest over-the-month increases in employment across the US with 64,100 new jobs.
The west continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 7.0 percent. Within the region, Wyoming touts the lowest unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, with Casper, WY coming in at 3.2 percent. California experienced one of the largest over-the-year job increases adding 340,200 since April 2013, however they had an overall jobless rate of 7.8 and El Centro, CA had the highest unemployment rate in the state coming in at 21.6 percent.