METROPOLITAN AREA EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT — DECEMBER 2018
Unemployment rates were lower in December than a year earlier in 250 of the 388
metropolitan areas, higher in 116 areas, and unchanged in 22 areas, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported today. A total of 89 areas had jobless rates of less
than 3.0 percent and 3 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent. Nonfarm payroll
employment increased over the year in 61 metropolitan areas and was essentially
unchanged in 327 areas. The national unemployment rate in December was 3.7 percent,
not seasonally adjusted, down from 3.9 percent a year earlier.
Metropolitan Area Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
In December, Ames, IA, had the lowest unemployment rate, 1.4 percent. El Centro,
CA, and Yuma, AZ, had the highest unemployment rates, 17.3 percent and 15.4 percent,
respectively. A total of 193 areas had December unemployment rates below the U.S.
rate of 3.7 percent, 179 areas had rates above it, and 16 areas had rates equal to
that of the nation. (See table 1.)
The largest over-the-year unemployment rate decrease occurred in Ocean City, NJ
(-2.2 percentage points). Twenty-five additional areas had rate decreases of at
least 1.0 percentage point. Panama City, FL, had the largest over-the-year rate
increase in December (+2.2 percentage points).
Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more,
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN, had the lowest unemployment rate in
December, 2.3 percent. Cleveland-Elyria, OH, had the highest jobless rate among the
large areas, 4.9 percent. Thirty-three large areas had over-the-year unemployment
rate decreases, 15 had increases, and 3 had no change. The largest rate decreases
occurred in Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY (-1.4 percentage points), and
Rochester, NY (-1.2 points). The largest over-the-year rate increase was in Denver-
Aurora-Lakewood, CO (+0.8 percentage point).
Metropolitan Division Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Eleven of the most populous metropolitan areas are made up of 38 metropolitan
divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers. In
December, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA, had the lowest rate
among the divisions, 2.1 percent. Elgin, IL, had the highest division rate, 5.7
percent. (See table 2.)
In December, 30 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate
decreases and 8 had increases. The largest rate decline occurred in Chicago-
Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL (-1.3 percentage points). The largest over-
the-year rate increase was in Elgin, IL (+1.3 percentage points).
Metropolitan Area Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
In December, 61 metropolitan areas had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll
employment and 327 were essentially unchanged. The largest over-the-year employment
increases occurred in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (+116,400), New York-Newark-
Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (+115,500), and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX (+108,300).
The largest over-the-year percentage gains in employment occurred in Midland,
TX (+6.7 percent), Colorado Springs, CO (+5.5 percent), and Reno, NV (+5.3 percent).
(See table 3.)
Over the year, nonfarm employment rose in 39 of the 51 metropolitan areas with a
2010 Census population of 1 million or more, while employment was essentially
unchanged in 12 areas. The largest over-the-year percentage increases in employment
in these large metropolitan areas occurred in Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL (+4.0
percent), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ (+3.7 percent), and Austin-Round Rock, TX,
and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX (+3.5 percent each).
Metropolitan Division Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
In December, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 18 of the 38 metropolitan
divisions over the year and was essentially unchanged in 20 divisions. The largest
over-the-year increase in employment among the metropolitan divisions occurred in
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX (+88,600), followed by New York-Jersey City-White Plains,
NY-NJ (+81,000), and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA (+60,000). (See table 4.)
The largest over-the-year percentage increases in employment occurred in San Rafael,
CA (+3.7 percent), and Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX, and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
(+3.4 percent each).
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