Economy Watch: Most Metros Enjoy Low Unemployment

Of the 388 U.S. metro areas, 340 had unemployment rates that were lower in July than a year earlier, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Ahead of the monthly employment numbers on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a separate report on Wednesday revealing that unemployment rates were lower in July than a year earlier in 340 of the 388 U.S. metropolitan areas, higher in 39 areas, and unchanged in nine areas.

Thirty-one metros had jobless rates of less than 3 percent and three had rates of 10 percent or higher. Payroll employment increased over the year in 336 metropolitan areas, decreased in 46 areas, and was unchanged in six areas.

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In July, Bismarck, N.D., had the lowest unemployment rate at 1.9 percent, closely followed by Fargo, N.D., at 2 percent. Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood had the lowest unemployment rate in July, 2.4 percent.

El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., suffered the highest unemployment rates in July, 24.2 percent and 23.8 percent, respectively. Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio, had the highest jobless rate among the large areas, at 6.6 percent.

Forty-three large areas had year-over-year unemployment rate decreases and eight had increases. The largest rate decrease occurred in Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich. (down 1.9 percentage points). The largest annual rate increase was suffered by Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio (up 1 percentage point).