September Jobless Rates Down Over the Year in 345 of 372 Metro Areas; Payroll Jobs up in 267

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—October 30, 2012.  Unemployment rates were lower in September than a year earlier in 345 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 22 areas, and unchanged in 5 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Two areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, while 41 areas registered rates of less than 5.0 percent. Two hundred sixty-seven metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 94 reported decreases, and 11 had no change. The national unemployment rate in September was 7.6 percent, not seasonally  adjusted, down from 8.8 percent a year earlier.

Metropolitan Area Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

In September, 35 metropolitan areas reported jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent, down from 84 areas a year earlier, while 171 areas posted rates below 7.0 percent, up from 92 areas in September of last year. Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., recorded the highest unemployment rates in September, 29.7 and 28.5 percent, respectively. Bismarck, N.D., registered the lowest unemployment rate, 2.2 percent. A total of 217 areas recorded September unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 7.6 percent, 146 areas reported rates above it, and 9 areas had rates equal to that of the nation. (See table 1.)

The largest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases in September were registered in El Centro, Calif., and Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (-3.1 and -3.0 percentage points, respectively). Thirty-six additional areas had decreases of 2.0 percentage points or more. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash., reported the largest over-the-year jobless rate increase (+1.2 percentage points), followed by Elmira, N.Y. (+1.0 point).

Among the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 2000 population of 1 million or more, the highest unemployment rates in September were registered in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., and Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., 11.6 and 11.5 percent, respectively. The lowest jobless rate among the large areas was recorded in Oklahoma City, Okla., 4.6 percent. Forty-six large areas reported over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, two registered increases, and one had no change. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., experienced the largest unemployment rate decline from September 2011 (-2.5 percentage points). Five other large areas reported rate decreases of at least 2.0 percentage points. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., recorded the largest unemployment rate increase (+0.7 percentage point).

Metropolitan Division Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

Eleven of the most populous metropolitan areas are made up of 34 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers. In September 2012, Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich., registered the highest jobless rate among the divisions, 11.3 percent. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md., and Framingham, Mass., reported the lowest division rates, 5.0 percent each. (See table 2.)

Thirty-two of the metropolitan divisions recorded over-the-year jobless rate decreases in September, while two registered increases. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., posted the largest rate decline from a year earlier (-2.3 percentage points). Fifteen additional divisions had decreases of 1.0 percentage point or more. No division reported an unemployment rate increase over the year greater than 0.2 percentage point.

In 5 of the 11 metropolitan areas that contain divisions, the ranges between the highest and lowest division jobless rates were 2.0 percentage points or more in September. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H., recorded the largest rate difference among its divisions, 5.9 percentage points (Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, Mass.-N.H., 10.9 percent, compared with Framingham, Mass., 5.0 percent).

Metropolitan Area Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

In September, 267 metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 94 reported decreases, and 11 had no change. The largest over-the-year employment increase occurred in New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa. (+138,300), followed by Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (+96,600), and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. (+90,400). The largest over-the-year percentage gain in employment was reported in Lafayette, La. (+8.7 percent), followed by Columbus, Ind. (+8.6 percent), and Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (+8.0 percent). (See table 3.)

The largest over-the-year decrease in employment occurred in New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. (-8,000), followed by Colorado Springs, Colo. (-4,500), Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis. (-4,300), and Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C. (-4,200). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment was reported in Dalton, Ga. (-4.5 percent), followed by Lawton, Okla. (-3.7 percent), Tuscaloosa, Ala. (-3.6 percent), and College Station-Bryan, Texas, and Merced, Calif. (-3.4 percent each).

Over the year, nonfarm employment rose in 35 of the 37 metropolitan areas with annual average employment levels above 750,000 in 2011. The largest over-the-year percentage increases in employment in these large metropolitan areas were posted in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (+3.7 percent), Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (+3.4 percent), and Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas (+3.3 percent). Only two of the large areas reported percentage decreases: Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis. (-0.5 percent), and Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, Tenn. (-0.1 percent).

Metropolitan Division Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

Nonfarm payroll employment data were available in September 2012 for 32 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers within a metropolitan area. Twenty-nine of the 32 metropolitan divisions reported over-the-year employment gains, while 3 reported losses. The largest over-the-year increases in the metropolitan divisions occurred in New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. (+111,100), and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (+66,100). The largest over-the-year decreases in the metropolitan divisions were in Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Mass.-N.H., and Nashua, N.H.-Mass. (-1,700 each). (See table 4.)

The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment among the metropolitan divisions was reported in Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (+3.4 percent), followed by San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. (+3.1 percent), and Tacoma, Wash. (+3.0 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Mass.-N.H. (-2.1 percent).