Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment: November 2008

January 6, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – January 6, 2009 – METROPOLITAN AREA EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT: NOVEMBER 2008 Unemployment rates were higher in November than a year earlier in 364 of the 369 metropolitan areas, lower in 4 areas, and unchanged in 1 area, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Twenty-three areas recorded jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent, while eight areas registered rates below 3.0 percent. The national unemployment rate in November was 6.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted, up from 4.5 percent a year earlier.

Metropolitan Area Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
In November, 121 metropolitan areas reported jobless rates of at least 7.0 percent, up from 18 areas a year earlier, while 34 areas posted rates below 4.0 percent, down from 133 areas in November 2007.

El Centro, Calif., and neighboring Yuma, Ariz., continued to record the highest unemployment rates, 23.4 and 17.9 percent, respectively. Logan, Utah-Idaho, registered the lowest jobless rate, 2.4 percent.

Overall, 140 areas posted unemployment rates above the U.S. figure of 6.5 percent, 218 areas reported rates below it, and 11 areas had the same rate. 

Elkhart-Goshen, Ind., recorded the largest jobless rate increase from November 2007 (+7.9 percentage points), followed by Danville, Va. (+6.5 points). Both areas experienced layoffs in manufacturing.

An additional 56 areas registered over-the-year unemployment rate increases of 3.0 percentage points or more, and another 112 areas had rate increases of 2.0 to 2.9 points. No area had a jobless rate decrease of more than 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier.

Of the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 2000 population of 1 million or more, Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., reported the highest unemployment rates in November 2008, 9.5 percent each. Twelve additional large areas posted rates of 7.0 percent or more.

The large areas with the lowest jobless rates in November were Oklahoma City, Okla., and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va., 4.4 percent each. All 49 large areas registered higher unemployment rates than in November 2007. Providence-Fall River-Warwick, R.I.-Mass., had the largest jobless rate increase from a year earlier (+3.6 percentage points), followed by Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C., and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (+3.3 points each). Seventeen additional large areas recorded over-the-year unemployment rate increases of 2.0 percentage points or
more, and 27 other areas had rate increases of at least 1.0 point.

Metropolitan Division Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Eleven of the most populous metropolitan areas are composed of 34 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers. In November, Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich., again registered the highest division jobless rate, 10.6 percent, followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., and Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich., at 8.7 percent each. Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, Md., continued to report the lowest unemployment rate among the divisions, 3.8 percent. Nashua, N.H.-Mass., posted the next lowest rate, 4.0 percent. (See table 2.) In November, all 34 metropolitan divisions again recorded over-the-year jobless rate increases. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., experienced the largest rate increase (+3.6 percentage points).
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, Fla., registered the next largest unemployment rate increase (+3.0 percentage points). Nine additional divisions reported over-the-year rate increases of 2.0 percentage points or more.

In 7 of the 11 metropolitan areas that contain divisions, the ranges between the highest and lowest division jobless rates were 1.0 percentage point or more in November. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H., posted the largest rate difference among its divisions, 4.3 percentage points (Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, Mass.-N.H., 8.3 percent, compared with Nashua, N.H.-Mass., 4.0 percent).

Metropolitan Area Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Among the 310 metropolitan areas for which nonfarm payroll data were available in November 2008, 93 metropolitan areas recorded over-the-year employment gains, 210 reported losses, and 7 were unchanged. The largest over-the-year employment increase was recorded in Houston-Sugar Land-
Baytown, Texas (+54,300), followed by Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+46,900), Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. (+31,100), and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (+19,900).

The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment was recorded in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas (+3.9 percent), followed by Grand Junction, Colo. (+3.4 percent), Laredo, Texas (+3.0 percent), and College Station-Bryan, Texas (+2.8 percent).

The largest over-the-year decreases in employment occurred in Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich. (-72,600), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (-67,800), Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla. (-59,300), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. (-58,800), and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (-57,600). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment were experienced in Flint, Mich. (-6.3 percent), Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz. (-6.1 percent), Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (-5.4 percent), Yuma, Ariz. (-5.3 percent), and St. George, Utah (-4.6 percent).

Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 11 of the 38 metropolitan areas with annual average employment levels above 750,000 in 2007. The largest over-the-year percentage gain in employment was recorded in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (+2.1 percent), followed by San Antonio, Texas (+2.0 percent), Austin-Round Rock, Texas, and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+1.6 percent each), and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. (+1.5 percent). Among the large areas, the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment was experienced in Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich. (-3.7 percent), followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (-3.0 percent), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-2.7 percent each), and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach Fla., and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-2.4 percent each).

Metropolitan Division Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Nonfarm payroll employment data were available in November 2008 for 32 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers within a metropolitan area. Ten of the 32 metropolitan divisions reported over-the-year employment increases while 22 reported losses. The
largest over-the-year employment increase in the metropolitan divisions occurred in Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+31,100), followed by Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. (+27,000), Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (+23,900), and Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+15,800). Of
the 22 metropolitan divisions that reported losses, the largest over-the-year employment decreases were experienced in Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (-39,200), Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif. (-38,400), Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill. (-34,400), Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-33,400), and
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. (-23,700).

The largest over-the-year percentage gains in employment among the metropolitan divisions were recorded in Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+1.8 percent), Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (+1.6 percent), Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+1.5 percent), and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.
(+1.1 percent). Of the metropolitan divisions that experienced over-the-year decreases in employment, the largest decreases were in Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-4.3 percent), Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (-3.3 percent), Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla. (-2.8 percent), and
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif. (-2.5 percent).