March 23, 2012 —
Unemployment rates were lower in January than a year earlier in 345 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 16 areas, and unchanged in 11 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Thirteen areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, and 13 areas registered rates of less than 5.0 percent. Two hundred seventy metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 94 reported decreases, and 8 had no change. The national unemployment rate in January was 8.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 9.8 percent a year earlier.
Metropolitan Area Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
In January, 86 metropolitan areas reported jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent, down from 150 areas a year earlier, while 83 areas posted rates below 7.0 percent, up from 47 areas in January 2011. El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., recorded the highest unemployment rates in January 2012, 26.4 and 24.5 percent, respectively. Ten of the other 11 areas with jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent were located in California. Bismarck, N.D., and Lincoln, Neb., registered the lowest unemployment rates, 3.8 percent each. A total of 201 areas recorded January unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 8.8 percent, 162 areas reported rates above it, and 9 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.
The largest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases in January were registered in Decatur, Ala. (-3.2 percentage points), and Monroe, Mich. (-2.8 points). Twenty-five other areas recorded rate declines of 2.0 percentage points or more, and an additional 170 areas had decreases of between 1.0 and 1.9 points. Lawton, Okla., and Yuma, Ariz., reported the largest over-the-year jobless rate increases (+1.0 percentage point each).
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