The following is the text of the U.S. metropolitan area employment report for February released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Unemployment rates were lower in February than a year earlier in 344 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 19 areas, and unchanged in 9 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Thirteen areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, while 12 areas registered rates of less than 5.0 percent. Two hundred sixty-seven metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 98 reported decreases, and 7 had no change. The national unemployment rate in February was 8.7 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 9.5 percent a year earlier.
Metropolitan Area Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
In February, 77 metropolitan areas reported jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent, down from 137 areas a year earlier, while 90 areas posted rates below 7.0 percent, up from 54 areas a year earlier. El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., recorded the highest unemployment rates in February, 26.7 and 23.7 percent, respectively. Ten of the other 11 areas with jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent were located in California. Bismarck, N.D., and Midland, Texas, registered the lowest unemployment rates, 3.8 percent each. A total of 205 areas recorded February unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 8.7 percent, 158 areas reported rates above it, and 9 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.
The largest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases in February were registered in three Michigan areas: Flint, Holland-Grand Haven, and Jackson (-2.2 percentage points each). An additional 161 areas had decreases of 1.0 percentage point or more. Yuma, Ariz., reported the largest over-the-year jobless rate increase (+2.0 percentage points). Two other areas had increases of more than 1.0 percentage point from a year earlier.
Among the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 2000 population of 1 million or more, the highest unemployment rates in February were registered in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., 12.5 percent, and Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., 12.2 percent. Five additional large areas posted rates of 10.0 percent or more. The lowest jobless rates among the large areas were recorded in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va., 5.8 percent each. Forty-six of the large areas reported over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, while three areas registered increases. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., experienced the largest unemployment rate decline from February 2011 (-2.0 percentage points), followed by Birmingham-Hoover, Ala., Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-1.8 points each). Nineteen other large areas reported rate decreases of at least 1.0 percentage point. No large area had an increase greater than 0.4 percentage point.
Metropolitan Division Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Eleven of the most populous metropolitan areas are made up of 34 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers. In February 2012, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., registered the highest jobless rate among the divisions, 12.1 percent. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md., reported the lowest division rate, 5.4 percent.
Thirty-one of the metropolitan divisions recorded over-the-year jobless rate decreases in February, while two divisions registered increases and one had no change. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich., posted the largest rate decline from a year earlier (-2.2 percentage points). Nine other divisions reported rate decreases of 1.0 percentage point or more. New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., experienced the largest unemployment rate increase from a year earlier (+0.7 percentage point).
In 4 of the 11 metropolitan areas that contain divisions, the ranges between the highest and lowest division jobless rates were 2.0 percentage points or more in February. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H., recorded the largest rate difference among its divisions, 6.3 percentage points (Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, Mass.-N.H., 11.9 percent, compared with Framingham, Mass., 5.6 percent).
Metropolitan Area Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
In February, 267 metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 98 reported decreases, and 7 had no change. The largest over-the-year employment increase occurred in New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa. (+117,700), followed by Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (+93,400), Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+79,400), and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (+43,900). The largest over-the-year percentage gain in employment was reported in Ocean City, N.J. (+11.7 percent), followed by Odessa, Texas (+10.0 percent), and Columbus, Ind. (+9.7 percent).
The largest over-the-year decreases in employment occurred in Fort Smith, Ark.-Okla. (-5,800), Augusta-Richmond County, Ga.-S.C. (-5,000), and Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, Calif. (-4,700). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment was reported in Ithaca, N.Y. (-6.1 percent), followed by Dalton, Ga. (-5.2 percent), and Fort Smith, Ark.- Okla. (-5.1 percent).
Over the year, nonfarm employment rose in 35 of the 37 metropolitan areas with annual average employment levels above 750,000 in 2011. The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment in these large metropolitan areas was posted in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (+3.7 percent), followed by Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas (+3.3 percent), and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (+3.1 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, Calif. (-0.6 percent).
Metropolitan Division Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Nonfarm payroll employment data were available in February for 32 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers within a metropolitan area. Twenty-nine of the 32 metropolitan divisions reported over-the-year employment gains, while 3 reported losses. The largest over-the-year increases in the metropolitan divisions occurred in New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. (+78,700), Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+53,400), and Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (+38,100). The over-the-year decreases in the metropolitan divisions were in Nashua, N.H.-Mass. (-2,600), Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-2,300), and Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. (-900).
The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment among the metropolitan divisions was reported in Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+3.1 percent), followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+2.6 percent), and Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, Mass.-N.H., and Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (+2.5 percent each). The over-the-year percentage decreases in employment occurred in Nashua, N.H.-Mass. (-2.1 percent), Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. (-1.0 percent), and Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-0.3 percent).
The Regional and State Employment and Unemployment news release for March is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 20, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for March is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).