The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that of the 372 metropolitan areas measured, 351 have measurably lower unemployment rates than November 2010. Of the remaining 21 areas, 16 saw increased unemployment rates, and five held steady. Eight metro areas have reported unemployment rates above 15 percent. On the other side of the scale, 25 metro areas have reported rates of less than 5 percent. Within the non-farm payroll sector, over the last 12-month period, 239 areas saw employment increases, 127 experienced decreased employment levels, and six were stagnant. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell 1.1 percent, over-the-year, from 9.3 percent to 8.2 percent.
Of the 49 largest metro areas (those with populations of at least one million people), the highest reported unemployment rates for November 2011 were in Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada and Bernardino-Ontario, California (both at 12.5 percent). The lowest reported rate was reported in Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin (5.1 percent). Additionally, 48 of these areas saw an overall unemployment reduction of 2 percent or higher; the largest decrease being measured in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Florida (2.5 percent). The only over-the-year increase was reported in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin (0.6 percent).
Of the 36 metro areas with annual average employment levels over 750,000 workers, 31 recorded employment increases during the November 2010 to November 2011 period. The largest increases within this select group were reported in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (3.4 percent), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California (3.3 percent), and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington (2.8 percent). The largest decreases were recorded in Indianapolis-Carmel, Indiana (0.7 percent), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia (0.6 percent), Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio (0.6 percent), and Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, North Carolina-South Carolina (0.2 percent).