While Most Metropolitan Areas Show Improvement, the West Continues To Have the Highest Unemployment in the US

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“The Employment Situation — July 2014” national BLS report showed a continuation of monthly job gains, adding 209,000 new jobs to the economy. This marks the sixth straight month we’ve seen increases of 200,000+ jobs.

Both regional and state unemployment rates saw little change in the United States metropolitan areas, according to the BLS’ latest “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report. In June, the national unemployment rate declined slightly to 6.1 percent – 1.4 percentage points lower than a year earlier. In fact, forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have seen unemployment rate decreases over the past year.

Looking deeper into the June metro area numbers, Bismarck, North Dakota once again led the nation with the lowest unemployment rate — now at 2.6 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from May. Of the 372 metropolitan areas, 10 had jobless rates of at least 10 percent, whereas 74 areas had rates of less than 5.0 percent.

In other positive news, unemployment decreased in 359 of 372 metropolitan areas, increased in 10 areas and was unchanged in 3 areas. Additionally, each of the 34 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year employment gains since June 2013. The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment among these divisions occurred in Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (+3.7 percent), followed by Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+3.6 percent each).

Here are some key regional highlights from the BLS “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment — June 2014” report:

Mid–Atlantic

By the end of June, the Mid-Atlantic region showed an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent (-0.1 from the previous month). Atlantic City, NJ had the largest rate decline from a year earlier (-3.0 percentage points) and Ithaca, NY reported the lowest unemployment rate at 4.5 percent (-0.4 percentage points from the previous month).

Midwest

The Midwest region showed an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent, down .1 percentage points from last month and down 1.4 percentage points over the last year. North Dakota lead the charge in this region once again, with the lowest unemployment rate of 2.7 percent. By city, Bismarck, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate with an impressive 2.6 (+0.4 percentage points from the previous month). Regarding employment, the largest over-the-year percentage increase in job growth also occurred in North Dakota (+4.8 percent).

Mountain-Plains

By month’s end, Nevada once again realized the largest unemployment rate decrease in the region with a 2.3 percent decrease from the previous year. Unfortunately, the state came in last in the region with a monthly unemployment rate of 7.7 percent (-0.2 percentage points from the previous month). Yuma, AZ continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, with 26.9 percent (+0.3 percentage points from the previous month).

New England

The New England region showed a 0.2 percent decrease in their unemployment rate, falling to 5.7. Vermont’s Burlington-South Burlington metro area recorded the lowest unemployment rate of the region, at 3.5 percent (+0.8 percentage points from the previous month). This region saw the highest unemployment rate in Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, MA-NH with 9.2 percent.

Southeast

The Southeast region’s unemployment rate remained at 6.0 during the month of June. South Carolina (-2.5 percentage points) and Tennessee (-1.8 percentage points) had the largest unemployment rate declines from a year earlier. Florida had the largest over-the-month employment increase in the country, with +37,400 new jobs. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL had the lowest unemployment rate in the region with a showing of 4.6 percent.

Southwest

The Southwest region’s unemployment dropped slightly from 5.2 to 5.1 percent in the month of June. Leading the charge in this region was Oklahoma, who had the lowest unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX had the highest rate of unemployment at 9.6 (+1.0 percentage points from the previous month). This region has seen great growth in Texas – having the largest over-the-year increases in US employment at +371,000.

West

The west continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 6.7 percent (-0.2 from the previous month and -1.4 from the previous year). Within the region, Utah touts the lowest unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, with Logan, UT-ID coming in at 3.2 percent. Once again, California has experienced one of the largest over-the-year job increases by adding 356,400 since June 2013, and had an overall jobless rate of 7.4 (down -1.6 percent from June 2013). El Centro, CA continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the state coming in at 22.0 percent.

At Adecco, we have clients in every region of the country who have staff augmentation plans in place. To get more information about how our staffing solutions can help in this job market and to sign up for our emails, click here!

Contributor

Katherine Stevens works in Adecco’s marketing department. A lover of language, she has a BA in Broadcast Journalism and an MSc in TESOL and Linguistics. Never without a cup of Earl Grey in hand, she enjoys researching and developing content to help candidates find their perfect career match. Outside of the office, she is continuously seeking out adventure and learning new recipes one wok at a time.

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