There is no doubt about it: a trend has been established. As was the case throughout 2012, unemployment once again diminished within a majority of the United States’ metropolitan areas in December.
According to the BLS’ latest “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report, published on January 30th, 290 of the nation’s 372 metro areas recorded a lower jobless rate in December 2012 than in December 2011, while 68 areas’ unemployment rates rose during that time span.
Although the national jobless rate was measured at 7.8 percent in December 2012, 158 areas’ rates were lower than seven percent, an increase of 36 in comparison to December 2011’s data. On the other hand, only seven areas’ unemployment rates were equal to or higher than 15 percent.
As usual, Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif.’s rates were still well above the national average, measuring at 27.3 and 25.5 percent, respectively. However, the report’s positives outweighed its negatives, as 33 areas’ jobless rates were lower than five percent in December, including Midland, Texas, which registered the nation’s lowest unemployment rate – 3.1 percent.
To provide further indication of the nation’s current economic situation, the following statistics concerning regional employment and inflation were also released.
- Mid–Atlantic: After decelerating for four consecutive months, Pittsburgh, Pa.’s unemployment rate augmented considerably in December, rising from 6.5 to 7.2 percent. In all, 91,700 residents were without work, an increase of 9,500, when compared to November’s figures. (Link: http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.pa_pittsburgh_msa.htm)
- Midwest: From December 2011 to December 2012, the greater Detroit area’s Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) rose by 1.4 and 1.7 percent, respectively. (Link: http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.mi_detroit_md.htm)
- Mountain-Plains: At 4.4 percent, Casper, Wyo.’s jobless rate remained well below the national average in December, as 1,900 residents were unemployed. In fact, since July, the rate has lingered between 4.1 and 4.9 percent. (Link: http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.wy_casper_msa.htm)
- New England: According to recently released data, hiring declined within a majority of Lewiston-Auburn, Maine’s private sectors from December 2011 to December 2012. The reduction was particularly noticeable in the area’s leisure and hospitality and manufacturing sectors, as employment diminished by ten and 4.3 percent, respectively. (Link: http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.me_lewiston_mn.htm)
- New York–New Jersey: The greater New York City area’s total number of unemployed residents rose by 6,400 in December, as the metropolis’s jobless rate increased from 8.4 to 8.5 percent. Nonetheless, since July, the area’s unemployment rate has decreased by one percent. (Link: http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.ny_newyork_msa.htm)
- Southeast: A majority of Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.’s private sectors reported a significant rise in hiring from December 2011 to December 2012. The most noticeable employment increases occurred in sectors like leisure and hospitality and manufacturing, as hiring upturned by 6.4 and 6.2 percent, respectively. (Link: http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.nc_durham_msa.htm)
- Southwest: For the first month since June, El Paso, Texas’s jobless rate increased in December, rising to 8.4 percent. The city’s civilian labor force declined to 326,200, as 27,500 residents were unemployed. (Link: http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.tx_elpaso_msa.htm)
- West: The greater Seattle, Wash., area’s CPI-U and CPI-W each augmented by 1.4 percent from December 2011 to December 2012. (Link: http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.wa_seattle_md.htm)