May Jobless Rates Rise In Most U.S. Metro Areas
Unemployment went up in nearly all U.S. metro areas for the fifth straight month in May, the Labor Department reported yesterday.
National unemployment stands at 9.4 percent, is likely to continue rising and could hit 10 percent before leveling off, even as the stock markets have rallied since May. This is why unemployment is a considered a lagging indicator of economic health.
Tomorrow, the June U.S. unemployment rate will be released; forecasters are expecting a rise to 9.6 percent.
On a city-by-city basis (for the purposes of this report, a "metro" area typically includes a city or a couple of nearby cities or a cluster of cities, like the D.C. metro area), the May unemployment rates rose in 46 of the largest 49 metro areas.
Employment was unchanged in Denver and Minneapolis and actually improved in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro area, dropping from 8.5 to 8.3 percent.
Other metro areas were not so lucky.
-- The unemployment rate in Kokomo, Ind., jumped to 18.8 percent from 7.1 percent a year ago, the biggest surge among all metro areas. It's worth nothing that smaller areas (with fewer employees) that are tied to single-industry economies (auto and parts manufacturing, in Kokomo) get hit harder by unemployment than areas with a larger, more diverse labor base.
-- El Centro, Calif., retained its title as Least Employable City with the nation's highest metro unemployment rate of 26.8 percent, thanks largely to out-of-work seasonal farm workers (a more useful number would be El Centro's non-farm payroll.)
-- No. 2 on the unemployment list is Yuma, Ariz., where unemployment is 23.3 percent. Kokomo is No. 3.
July 1, 2009; 9:36 AM ET
Categories: The Ticker | Tags: Labor Department, unemployment
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