In September, 84 metropolitan areas reported jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent, down from 106 areas a year earlier, while 95 areas posted rates below 7.0 percent, up from 72 areas in September 2010. El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., recorded the highest unemployment rates in September 2011, 29.6 and 27.0 percent, respectively. The remaining five areas with jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent were located in California. Bismarck, N.D., registered the lowest unemployment rate, 2.5 percent.
The areas with the next lowest rates were Fargo, N.D.-Minn., and Lincoln, Neb., 3.3 and 3.5 percent, respectively. A total of 222 areas recorded September unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 8.8 percent, 145 areas reported rates above it, and 5 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.
The largest over-the-year unemployment rate decrease in September was registered in Farmington, N.M. (-2.6 percentage points), followed by Muskegon-Norton Shores, Mich., and Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.Va. (-2.3 points each). An additional 70 areas recorded rate decreases of at least a full percentage point. Pascagoula, Miss., reported the largest over-the-year jobless rate increase (+2.0 percentage points). Thirteen other areas had increases of 1.0 percentage point or more from a year earlier.
In the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 2000 population of 1 million or more, the highest unemployment rates in September were registered in Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., 13.6 and 13.4 percent, respectively. Eleven additional large areas posted rates of 10.0 percent or more. The lowest jobless rate among the large areas was recorded in Oklahoma City, Okla., 5.5 percent. Thirty-six of the large areas reported over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, while 10 areas registered rate increases and 3 had no change. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., experienced the largest unemployment rate decrease from September 2010(-2.0 percentage points). Eleven other large areas reported rate decreases of at least 1.0 percentage point. The large area with the largest over-the-year jobless rate increase was Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. (+0.8 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 2011, Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich., registered the highest jobless rate among the divisions, 13.1 percent. Nashua, N.H.-Mass., reported the lowest division rate, 5.3 percent.
Twenty-seven of the metropolitan divisions recorded over-the-year jobless rate decreases in September, six registered increases, and one had no change. Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass.; Gary, Ind.; and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, Fla., posted the largest rate declines from a year earlier (-1.3 percentage points each). Eight additional divisions reported rate decreases of 1.0 percentage point or more. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill., experienced the largest unemployment rate increase from a year earlier (+0.5 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, 6.1 percentage points (Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, Mass.-N.H., 11.4 percent, compared with Nashua, N.H.-Mass.,5.3 percent).
Metropolitan Area Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
In September, 229 metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 140 reported decreases, and 3 had no change. The largest over-the-year employment increase occurred in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas(+72,200), followed by Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (+66,300),Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H. (+46,700), and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. (+44,800). The largest over-the-year percentage gain in employment was reported in Hot Springs, Ark. (+8.4 percent), followed by Wenatchee-East Wenatchee, Wash. (+7.7 percent), and Sandusky, Ohio (+7.0 percent).
The largest over-the-year decreases in employment occurred in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (-25,900), Richmond, Va. (-7,600), and Salem, Ore. (-6,400). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment were reported in Ocean City, N.J. (-5.4 percent), Missoula, Mont., and Salem, Ore. (-4.4 percent each), and Abilene, Texas (-4.3 percent).
Over the year, nonfarm employment rose in 30 of the 36 metropolitan areas with annual average employment levels above 750,000 in 2010. The largest over-the-year percentage increases in employment in these large metropolitan areas were posted in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (+3.1 percent), Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (+2.6 percent), and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+2.5 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment occurred in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (-1.1 percent), Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif. (-0.4 percent), and Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio, and Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.(-0.3 percent each).
Metropolitan Division Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Nonfarm payroll employment data were available in September 2011 for 32 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers within a metropolitan area. Twenty-two of the 32 metropolitan divisions reported over-the-year employment gains, 9 reported losses, and 1 was unchanged. The largest over-the-year increases in the metropolitan divisions occurred in Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+55,700), Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.(+35,000), and New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. (+34,100). The largest over-the-year decreases in the metropolitan divisions were in Edison-New Brunswick, N.J. (-16,800), Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. (-12,800), and Wilmington, Del.-Md.-N.J. (-4,700).
The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment among the metropolitan divisions was reported in Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+2.8 percent), followed by Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass., and Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Mass.-N.H.(+2.1 percent each). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment
were in Edison-New Brunswick, N.J. (-1.7 percent), Wilmington, Del.-Md.-N.J.(-1.4 percent), and Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. (-1.0 percent).