The cities with the lowest unemployment rates

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A variety of factors contribute to our understanding regarding the current state of the economy. It's not a simple issue. One indicator stands out though as especially significant, at least as far as many working Americans are concerned: unemployment rates. And, this fall, it seems we've been getting some good news.

The Labor Department reported last month on the unemployment rates of the 51 metropolitan areas in the U.S. with a population greater than 1 million. In the last year, from September 2014 to September 2015, all but two saw nonfarm payrolls increase. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California was the largest percentage increase, up 4.8 percent, followed by Orlando-Kissimee-Sanford, Florida, and Salt Lake City, Utah, which were up 3.7 percent.

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Forty-nine large metro areas saw a decrease in unemployment over the course of the year, and the other two saw no change. Here are a few interesting specifics from the data.

1. Detroit, Michigan had the most improved unemployment data, down from 8.2 percent in September of 2014 to 5.7 percent in September 2015.

2. Salt Lake City, Utah had the lowest unemployment rates (3.1 percent) this past September out of all 51 large metro areas in the US.

3. Of the 51 metropolitan areas with populations over 1 million (according to 2010 census data) only two cities saw a decline in job opportunities compared with the year before – Richmond, Virginia, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

For more information, or to see how your city fared, be sure to check out the full report from the Labor Department.

See how unemployment is currently affecting Americans:

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The cities with the lowest unemployment rates
Unemployed and homeless people line up for a free meal and new shoes during a Good Friday event in Los Angeles, California on April 3, 2015. After a year of pumping up their payrolls, US employers sharply cut back hiring in March, in a fresh sign of a slowdown in the world's leading economy. AFP PHOTO/ MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 18: Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., speaks during a news conference outside of the Capitol on how women and families are impacted without unemployment insurance on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 04: A help wanted sign is seen in the window of the Unika store on September 4, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August jobs report that shows that the economy created just 173,000 new jobs last month. But the unemployment rate dipped to 5.1%, the lowest since April 2008, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
An 'Uplift Your Career' sign is displayed as a job seeker speaks with potential employers during a HireLive job fair in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week remained historically low. The subdued level of firings has been accompanied by falling unemployment and steady job gains, signs the labor market continues to heal in its seventh year of recovery. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 02: Pedestrians walk by a 'now hiring' sign at a KFC restaurant on July 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. According to a report by the U.S. Labor Department, employers added 223,000 jobs in June dropping the national unemployment rate to 5.3 percent, the lowest level since April 2008. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 04: A job seeker fills out registration forms before entering a HireLive career fair on June 4, 2015 in San Francisco, California. According to a report by payroll processor ADP, 201,000 jobs were added by businesses in May. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 04: A job seeker shakes hands with a recruiter during a HireLive career fair on June 4, 2015 in San Francisco, California. According to a report by payroll processor ADP, 201,000 jobs were added by businesses in May. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A man walks with a load of plastic bottle and soda cans he collected from subway stations in New York on May 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Job seekers sit in a waiting area at the Choice Career Fair in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, April 16, 2015. Fewer than 300,000 American workers filed applications for unemployment benefits for the sixth consecutive week, pointing to labor-market strength even as hiring cooled last month. Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Job seekers speak with recruiters during a career fair at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, April 3, 2015. Employers in March added the fewest workers since December 2013 and the jobless rate held at 5.5 percent as companies sought to bring U.S. headcounts in line with an economy that throttled back at the start of the year. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Unemployed and homeless people line up for a free meal and new shoes during a Good Friday event in Los Angeles, California on April 3, 2015. After a year of pumping up their payrolls, US employers sharply cut back hiring in March, in a fresh sign of a slowdown in the world's leading economy. AFP PHOTO/ MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, TX - MARCH 27: Misty Archibeque takes care of her quintuplets as her husband Adam, who was let go from a downsizing oil field operator, concentrates on searcing for work on March 27, 2015 in Portland, Texas. Archibeque and his wife Misty recently had quintuplets, making his current unemployment even more costly.Texas, which in just the last five years has tripled its oil production and delivered hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy, is looking at what could be a sustained downturn in prices. Crude oil prices today are almost 60 percent lower than they were six months ago.While the Texan economy has become more diversified over the years, oil is still the states largest monetary generator and any sustained downturn would be devastating for employment and the economy. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas this month said a drop in oil prices have been responsible for 39,621 job cuts in the first two months of the year. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Homeless men and women wait to get food and shelter at the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission in Reno, Nevada, U.S., on Friday, March 20, 2015. Reno, a town that built an economy on quickie divorces, is mapping out the second act of its American life. As unemployment dropped by 1.5 percentage points the city has attracted tech companies such as Bay Area-based Apple Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 06: A New York Labor Department office is viewed in Manhattan on March 6, 2015 in New York City. Beating expectations, the Labor Department reported on Friday that employers added 295,000 workers in February. The robust numbers brought the unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent, its lowest since mid-2008. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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