Unemployment drops in majority of metro areas

Metropolitan areas in the United States are central hubs of social communication and economic activity. This is especially important given the ongoing recovery and the role metro areas play in contributing to business expansion and employment opportunities. More people are getting back to work in America’s cities, according to recent federal data, and sliding unemployment rates across the country have increased demand for the services of recruiting agencies.

Year-over-year decreases in unemployment nationwide
Unemployment rates in the last month of 2012 dropped in 290 of 372 metro areas monitored by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Compared to December 2011, only 68 areas saw increases in the number of unemployed workers and 14 areas saw no difference from the year before.

Even though 7 areas reported jobless rates at or above 15 percent, 33 metro areas saw their December unemployment numbers fall below 5 percent. Increases in job creation played a major role in helping ease unemployment rates: 283 metro areas recorded year-over-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment during December 2012. These gains led to a 7.6 national employment, a noteworthy dip from 8.3 percent the year before.

Overall, 47 metro areas experienced jobless rates of at least 10 percent, down from 70 areas in December 2011. The number of metro locales with rates below 7 percent last month stood at 158, up from 122 a year earlier. A total of 204 areas had unemployment rates below the U.S. average of 7.6 percent.

Top performers strewn across nation
Recruiting agencies will likely see interest in their services from all pockets of the country’s business community, as BLS data shows the biggest drops in unemployment occurred all over the nation.

As it stands, Midland, Texas, registered the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1 percent. However, the largest year-over-year drop occurred in Las Vegas-Paradise where jobless claims in December 2012 saw a drop of 3.3 percentage points from the year before. Fourteen other areas saw reduction of 2 percent of more.

The largest year-over-year increase in total employment among metro areas occurred in San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, with employment up 3.4 percent. Peabody, Mass., also saw an increase of 3.1 percent.

The recent report is good news for Chicago recruiters and businesses as well. The Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent from 9.3 percent in December 2011.