Metropolitan Unemployment Continues to Steadily Decline

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After a near two-month hiatus, the BLS released its latest “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report on March 22nd – the first report of the year to focus on 2013 employment data. As usual, the report was encouraging, as a majority of the United States’ metro areas recorded lower unemployment rates in January 2013 than in January 2012.

However, last month’s report findings were not nearly as positive as in recent months, as only 227 of the nation’s 372 metro areas reported lower unemployment rates in 2013 than in 2012. To compare, from December 2011 to December 2012, joblessness declined in 290 of the country’s 372 metro areas; from November 2011 to November 2012, unemployment contracted in even more metro areas – 322 to be exact.

Nonetheless, joblessness is still declining at a steady pace. Back in January 2012, 81 areas’ unemployment rates were lower than seven percent; this January, that figure rose to 99, as 13 areas had unemployment rates of less than five percent, while only 12 areas’ jobless rates were 15 percent or higher.

As a further sign of deteriorating unemployment, Midland, Texas, recorded the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, 3.4 percent, in January. Another Texas city, Odessa, also documented a low rate, 4.1 percent, as did Bismarck, N.D., the second lowest rates of the month. Unfortunately, joblessness was not nearly as low in some cities out west, as Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., reported rates well above 15 percent, at 26.5 and 25.8 percent, respectively.

In the meantime, the BLS also released the following statistics regarding individual cities’ unemployment rates and Consumer Price Indexes.

Source: BLS

  • Mid–Atlantic: For the second consecutive month, Dover, Del.’s unemployment rate increased substantially, rising from 7.3 percent in December 2012 to 8.5 percent in January. Although the total number of employed residents rose to 69,300, the uptick in joblessness was noticeable, as 6,400 residents were without work, the highest monthly total since February 2010.
  •  Midwest: On a year-to-year basis, hiring rose within a majority of the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., area’s public and private sectors in January, as has been the case in recent months. The most considerable upsurge in employment occurred in education and health services, as well as government, rising by four and 2.6 percent, respectively.
  •  Mountain-Plains: Although Topeka, Kan.’s total civilian labor force rose by 1,600 in January, the city’s unemployment rate also increased, rising to 7.1 percent, after lingering at 6.1 percent in November and December 2012. Roughly 8,600 residents were jobless, an upswing of 1,300, when compared to December 2012’s data.
  •   New England: At 4.2 percent, the greater Burlington, Vt.’s jobless rate remained well below the national average in January. However, it has now risen for two successive months; since November, it has increased by 0.5 percent. Nevertheless, 109,400 residents were employed in January, while 114,200 were members of the civilian labor force. (Link:
  • New York–New Jersey: The greater New York City area’s Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) each rose by 2.2 percent, from January 2012 to January 2013.
  •  Southeast: Although Montgomery, Ala.’s unemployment rate rose from 6.6 percent in December to 7.9 percent in January, employment continued to increase within most of the city’s private sectors. Hiring was especially pertinent in the manufacturing and professional and business services sectors, rising by four and 2.5 percent, respectively, from January 2012 to January 2013.
  •   Southwest: After declining to 4.5 percent in November 2012, Baton Rouge, La.’s unemployment rate has risen markedly ever since. In January, it was measured at seven percent, as the total number of jobless residents rose from 20,100 in December to 26,500.
  •  West: The greater Los Angeles area’s CPI-U and CPI-W augmented by two and 1.9 percent, respectively, from January 2012 to January 2013.

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