Jobless rates fell year-over-year in 74 percent of U.S. metros in May, according to the latest figures

Jobless rates fell year-over-year in 74 percent of U.S. metros in May, according to the latest figures released Wednesday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall, the national unemployment rate fell to a nonseasonally-adjusted 8.7 percent last month, from 9.3 percent in May 2010. Nearly a quarter of the 372 metros covered by the BLS had rates below 7 percent.

Of the 17 metros with rates below 5 percent, slightly more than half were in the Midwest’s Farm Belt states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa.

Lowest Metro Unemployment Rates, May 2011

Rank Metropolitan Area Rate (%)
  U.S. 8.7
     
1 Bismarck, N.D. 2.9
2 Fargo, N.D.-Minn. 3.5
3 Lincoln, Neb. 3.7
4 Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn.  4
5 Burlington-South Burlington, Vt. 4.2
5 Iowa City, Iowa 4.2
7 Ames, Iowa 4.4
8 Portsmouth, N.H.-Maine 4.5
9 Midland, Texas 4.6
9 Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa 4.6
9 Sioux Falls, S.D. 4.6
12 Manchester, N.H. 4.8
13 Charlottesville, Va. 4.9
13 Honolulu 4.9
13 Oklahoma City 4.9
13 Rapid City, S.D. 4.9
13 Rochester-Dover, N.H.-Maine 4.9

Source: BLS. Data not seasonally adjusted.

California accounted for all but one of the 10 metros with jobless rates of 15 percent or more in May. Yuma, Ariz., had the highest rate, at 27.9 percent, followed by El Centro, Calif., at 27.7 percent.

Highest Metro Unemployment Rates, May 2011

Rank Metropolitan Area Rate (%)
  U.S. 8.7
     
372 Yuma, Ariz.  27.9
371 El Centro, Calif. 27.7
370 Yuba City, Calif. 19
369 Merced, Calif. 17.8
368 Modesto, Calif. 16.7
367 Stockton, Calif. 16.2
366 Fresno, Calif. 16
365 Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 15.2
364 Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 15.1
363 Bakersfield-Delano, Calif. 15

Source: BLS. Data not seasonally adjusted.

Metros in Michigan and Indiana continued to post the biggest year-over-year decreases in unemployment, though of the 13 metros with decreases of 2.5 percentage points or more, 11 still had jobless rates higher than the national rate.

Year-over-Year Change in Metro Unemployment Rates

    May 2010 May 2011  
Rank Metropolitan Area Rate Rate Change
  U.S. 9.3 8.7 -0.6
         
1 Rockford, Ill. 14.2 10.7 -3.5
2 Flint, Mich. 14.3 10.9 -3.4
3 Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. 13.4 10.1 -3.3
4 Muskegon-Norton Shores, Mich. 13.5 10.4 -3.1
5 Holland-Grand Haven, Mich. 11.2 8.4 -2.8
5 Kokomo, Ind. 12.3 9.5 -2.8
7 Danville, Ill. 11.5 8.8 -2.7
7 Jackson, Mich. 12.8 10.1 -2.7
9 Farmington, N.M. 9.3 6.7 -2.6
9 Monroe, Mich. 12.2 9.6 -2.6
11 Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. 14.9 12.4 -2.5
11 Niles-Benton Harbor, Mich. 12.5 10 -2.5
11 Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, Mich. 12.1 9.6 -2.5

Source: BLS. Data not seasonally adjusted.

Metros in Southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama saw the biggest year-over-year increases in unemployment.

Year-over-Year Change in Metro Unemployment Rates, May2010-May 2011

    May-10 May 2011p  
Rank Metropolitan Area Rate Rate Change
  U.S. 9.3 8.7 -0.6
         
372 Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas 10.5 11.8 1.3
371 Baton Rouge, La. 7.3 8.4 1.1
368 El Paso, Texas 9 10 1
368 Monroe, La. 7.5 8.5 1
368 Ocean City, N.J. 10.6 11.6 1
362 Alexandria, La. 6.8 7.7 0.9
362 Montgomery, Ala. 8.5 9.4 0.9
362 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. 7.1 8 0.9
362 Pascagoula, Miss. 9.3 10.2 0.9
362 Pine Bluff, Ark. 9.1 10 0.9
362 Tuscaloosa, Ala. 8.4 9.3 0.9

Source: BLS. Data not seasonally adjusted.

Among states, Nevada continued to post the highest unemployment rate at 12.1 percent, followed by California at 11.7 percent. North Dakota posted the lowest rate, 3.2 percent, followed by Nebraska, 4.1 percent.

Unemployment Rates for States, May 2011

Rank State Rate (%)
1 NORTH DAKOTA 3.2
2 NEBRASKA 4.1
3 NEW HAMPSHIRE 4.8
3 SOUTH DAKOTA 4.8
5 OKLAHOMA 5.3
6 VERMONT 5.4
7 HAWAII 6
7 IOWA 6
7 VIRGINIA 6
7 WYOMING 6
11 KANSAS 6.6
11 MINNESOTA 6.6
13 MARYLAND 6.8
14 NEW MEXICO 6.9
15 MONTANA 7.3
15 UTAH 7.3
17 ALASKA 7.4
17 PENNSYLVANIA 7.4
17 WISCONSIN 7.4
20 MASSACHUSETTS 7.6
21 MAINE 7.7
22 ARKANSAS 7.8
23 NEW YORK 7.9
24 DELAWARE 8
24 TEXAS 8
26 INDIANA 8.2
26 LOUISIANA 8.2
28 OHIO 8.6
28 WEST VIRGINIA 8.6
30 COLORADO 8.7
31 ILLINOIS 8.9
31 MISSOURI 8.9
33 ARIZONA 9.1
33 CONNECTICUT 9.1
33 WASHINGTON 9.1
36 OREGON 9.3
37 IDAHO 9.4
37 NEW JERSEY 9.4
39 ALABAMA 9.6
40 NORTH CAROLINA 9.7
40 TENNESSEE 9.7
42 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 9.8
42 GEORGIA 9.8
42 KENTUCKY 9.8
45 SOUTH CAROLINA 10
46 MICHIGAN 10.3
46 MISSISSIPPI 10.3
48 FLORIDA 10.6
49 RHODE ISLAND 10.9
50 CALIFORNIA 11.7
51 NEVADA 12.1

Source: BLS. Data seasonally adjusted.

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