A look at job growth and unemployment in U.S. metro areas

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People may choose to live where they live for any number of reasons. Perhaps they grew up there, went to school nearby or moved for a relationship. Some may have relocated for their career. And while picking up and moving for a job isn’t always easy, some areas may have better employment opportunities than others.

The areas that are growing, and those that are still struggling, are profiled in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly metropolitan area employment and unemployment summaries. According to the recently released September 2012 report*, unemployment rates were lower than a year earlier in 345 of the 372 metro areas, higher in 22 areas and unchanged in five.  

Unemployment highs and lows
While the national unemployment rate currently sits at 7.8 percent (seasonally adjusted), 217 areas recorded September unemployment rates below the U.S. figure, while 171 metro areas posted jobless rates below 7.0 percent. The areas that have seen the largest year-over-year unemployment rate decreases were El Centro, Calif. (-3.1 percentage points) and Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (-3.0 percentage points). Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash. reported the largest over-the-year jobless rate increase at +1.2 percentage points, followed by Elmira, N.Y. (+1.0 point).

Metros with the most job growth
The report also looked at the areas with the most job growth from a year prior, both in addition of jobs and percentage gains.

The following metro areas experienced the largest over-the-year increases in employment based on the number of jobs added:

The metro areas with the largest over-the-year percentage gains in employment were:

While bigger metro areas topped the list of most jobs added, smaller, less recognizable metros saw the biggest percentage increases in employment. This shows that it’s not just the biggest cities that have the most job opportunities. Something to think about if you’re considering a move for your career.

*Data from the Sept. Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary are not seasonally adjusted.

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