Economy Watch: Most Metros Enjoying Stronger Employment

Most local U.S. markets are doing reasonably well in terms of employment, which bodes well for the real estate industry.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Though not as closely watched as the headline unemployment numbers, the tabulation of local unemployment rates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is important to local real estate markets. The better local markets do, the more demand for various kinds of real estate, especially apartments and office space. Currently most local U.S. markets are doing reasonably well in terms of employment.

The BLS reported late last week that unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 285 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 75 areas and unchanged in 27 areas. Eight areas had jobless rates of less than 3 percent, while six areas had rates of at least 10 percent.

In June, the lowest unemployment rate was in Sioux Falls, S.D., coming in at 2.3 percent. A lot of oil jobs have disappeared, but when that happens most of the unemployed probably don’t stick around South Dakota. El Centro, Calif., had the highest unemployment rate, 23.7 percent. A total of 191 areas had June jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 5.1 percent; 180 areas had rates above it; and 16 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, Austin-Round Rock, Texas, had the lowest unemployment rate in June, a sizzling 3.3 percent. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev., by contrast, had the highest rate among the large metros, coming in at 6.9 percent. Forty-two large areas had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases; eight had increases; and one had no change.