Cities with the Highest and Lowest Unemployment in March

While unemployment rates are higher this March than they were last March, the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that unemployment was up in 321 of the 372 metropolitan areas, but lower in 41 areas, and unchanged in 10 areas. Twenty-eight areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, while 3 areas registered rates below 5.0 percent. The national unemployment rate in March was 10.2 percent, up from 9.0 percent a year earlier.

Three areas in California again registered the highest unemployment rates: El Centro, 27.0 percent; Merced, 22.1 percent; and Yuba City, 21.7 percent. Among the 28 areas with jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, 15 were located in California and 5 were in Michigan.

Believe it or not, Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La., registered the lowest unemployment rate in March--4.6 percent.

Overall, 151 areas recorded unemployment rates above the U.S. figure of 10.2 percent, 215 areas reported rates below it, and 6 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

Of the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 2000 population of 1 million or more, Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., reported the highest unemployment rates in March, 15.5 and 15.0 percent, respectively. Forty-six of the large areas registered over-the-year unemployment rate increases.

The cities with the largest increase in unemployment were:

  1. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. (+3.2 percentage points)

  2. Jacksonville, Fla. (+2.9 percentage points)

  3. Riverside-San Bernardino- Ontario, Calif. (+2.7 points).

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis., and Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., were the only large areas to post jobless rate decreases over the year (-0.6 and -0.2 percentage point, respectively).

The areas with the lowest jobless rates in March were:

  1. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La., 6.0 percent

  2. Oklahoma City, Okla., 6.1 percent

  3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.- W.Va., 6.7 percent.

The cities with the largest over-the-year increases in employment were:

  1. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash. (+5,100 jobs)

  2. Lawrence, Kan. (+2,900 jobs)

  3. Yakima, Wash. (+2,400 jobs)

  4. Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway, S.C. (+2,000 jobs)

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