Unemployment Rate Drops in 212 of 372 Metropolitan Areas in Past Year

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday that unemployment rates in September of this year were lower than a year earlier in 212 of the 372 metropolitan areas; higher in 143; and unchanged in 17. Thirteen metropolitan areas registered jobless rates of at least 15% and--on the other side--ten below 5%. National unemployment stood at 9.2% in September (not seasonally adjusted), down from 9.5% a year earlier.

The number of metropolitan areas with at least 10% unemployment decreased over the year from 120 to 104, and 74 recorded unemployment below 7%--up from 71 last year. With an unemployment rate of 30.4%, El Centro, California (focused primarily in agriculture) again landed the unenviable spot atop the list of metropolitan areas.

Of the thirteen areas facing jobless rates above 15%, nine were located in California; the area with the lowest rate--Bismarck, North Dakota--had one of just 2.8%. 238 metropolitan areas had lower unemployment rates than the national average of 9.2%, 133 had rates exceeding it, and one had an equal rate.

Among the 49 metropolitan areas attributed more than 1 million residents by the 2000 Census, Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., had the highest unemployment rates, checking in at 15% and 14.8%, respectively.
SSDAN Office

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