Year-to-Year Joblessness Continued to Fall Within a Majority of Metropolitan Areas

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According to the BLS’ most recently published “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report, which was released on May 2nd, joblessness continued to decease within a majority of the United States’ metropolitan areas in March.Overall, 342 of the nation’s 372 metro areas reported lower unemployment rates in March 2012 than in March 2011.

Only 16 metro areas recorded higher unemployment rates this past March than in March 2011, while 14 areas did not document any change in joblessness whatsoever. In the meantime, a majority of the nation’s urban areas, nearly one-third in all, had unemployment rates of seven percent or below, while 54 metro areas reported jobless rates above the national average.

As always, two of these 54 areas, El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., recorded the country’s highest unemployment rates, at 26.2 and 23.8 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, three areas – Bismarck, N.D., Lincoln, Neb., and Midland, Texas – documented the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, at 3.5, 3.7, and 3.7 percent, respectively, roughly five percent lower than the national unemployment rate of 8.1%.

Additional regional insights were as follows:

Source: BLS

  • Mid–Atlantic: According to recently released data, the greater Baltimore 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 2.8 percent from March 2011 to March 2012. (Link)
  • Midwest: Since January 2012, Sandusky, Ohio’s jobless rate has dropped by two percentage points, all the way down to 8.4 percent in March. Hiring also rose within many industries, including manufacturing. (Link)
  • Mountain-Plains: Approximately 79,400 Kansas City residents were unemployed in March, as the city’s jobless rate was measured at 7.6 percent. Since October, Kansas City’s unemployment rate has hovered between 7.2 and 7.7 percent. (Link)
  • New England:From March 2011 to March 2012, Manchester, N.H.’s CPI-U and CPI-W each increased by 1.8 percent, while the city’s unemployment rate dwindled from 5.7 percent in February to 5.5 percent in March. (Link)
  • New York–New Jersey: On a year-to-year basis, the greater Newark, N.J., area’s CPI-U and CPI-W rose by 2.6 and 2.7 percent in March, while the city’s unemployment rate fell to nine percent. (Link)
  • Southeast: Since October 2011, the greater Charlotte, N.C., area’s jobless rate has typically lingered around 10.5 percent. However, as a surprise to local economists, the area’s unemployment rate suddenly dropped to 9.6 percent in March. (Link)
  • Southwest: Employment within Santa Fe, N.M.’s finance and leisure and hospitality sectors rose by four and 14 percent, respectively, from March 2011 to March 2012, as hiring increased within a majority of the city’s industries. (Link)
  • West: According to recently published data, the greater Portland, Ore., area’s jobless rate was verified at 8.3 percent in March, a 0.4 percent decrease when compared to January’s unemployment statistics. In all, nearly 100,000 residents were unemployed. (Link)

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