Jobless rate falls below 7% in most U.S. cities

WASHINGTON — Unemployment rates fell below 7 percent in a majority of U.S. cities in November, suggesting steady job gains are benefiting most parts of the country.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that rates fell in November from October in 215 of the 372 largest metro areas. Rates were unchanged in 33 and rose in 124.

Rates dropped below 7 percent in 192 cities. That’s the first time since the recession ended that more than half of large cities had rates below that threshold. And 52 had rates below 5 percent.

Major metropolitan areas with low unemployment rates in November included: Oklahoma City, 4.5 percent; New Orleans, 4.7 percent; Washington, D.C., 5 percent; Boston, 5.6 percent; and Phoenix, 6.5 percent.

November’s rate for the Seattle, Tacoma and Everett metro area was 6.8 percent, down from 8 percent the year prior.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.8 percent in November from 7.9 percent the previous month. That occurred mostly because more Americans out of work gave up looking for jobs and were not counted as unemployed.

Employers added jobs in nearly three-quarters of metro areas in November compared with the same month a year ago. The job gains are compiled from a survey of company payrolls, while the unemployment rates come from a second survey of households.

The drop in unemployment rates will probably be reversed in the coming months because temporary workers hired by retailers, shipping companies and other employers are likely to be laid off. Unlike the national data, the metro unemployment rates are not adjusted for seasonal trends. So they tend to be more volatile from month to month.

There are still pockets of high unemployment, but they are dwindling. In November, 29 cities reported unemployment rates of 10 percent or higher. That’s down from 35 in October and much lower than 68 cities a year ago.

Bismarck, N.D. recorded the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.6 percent. The area is benefiting from an oil and gas drilling boom.

The boom has benefited other cities in the region. Fargo, N.D. has the second-lowest rate, at 3 percent.

Yuma, Ariz. and El Centro, Calif. reported the highest rates, at 27.5 percent and 26.6 percent, respectively. The two cities have high concentrations of migrant farm workers.

More in Herald Business Journal

The FCC chairman moves to repeal ‘net neutrality’ rules

His plan would allow internet providers to control broadband speeds and favor their own services.

Boeing bolsters team for potential 797 with leading engineer

Terry Beezhold has been chief project engineer for the 777X program.

Tom Hoban
Are millennials warming up to life in suburbia?

They dominate the apartment market and their wants need to be accounted for, says columnist Tom Hoban.

Camano artist mixes flask, paintings for successful cocktail

Art flasks prove popular as bachelorette gifts, birthday presents and wedding favors.

Fluke’s T6 Electrical Testers receives Innovation Awards honor

Fluke’s T6 Electrical Testers have received top honors in the Tools and… Continue reading

Everett volunteer named ‘community champion’ by Molina Healthcare

Everett’s Jorge Galindo was one of seven people across the state to… Continue reading

Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Experts say the campaign will not reach people when they are young and most likely to start smoking.

Cascade Valley Health to hold Festival of Trees in Arlington

Cascade Valley Health Foundation will be holding their fifth annual Festival of… Continue reading

7-Eleven program helped add 500 trees, shrubs to Everett park

Last month, 7-Eleven helped plant more than 500 trees and shrubs at… Continue reading

Most Read