Blogging on Employment and Job Markets in US Metro Areas

December 2016 Metro Area Unemployment Update

Now that metro area unemployment rates for December have been released, it’s time for an update. For metro areas with populations of 1 million or more as of the 2010 census, here are the 10 lowest unemployment rates:

Dec 2016 - 10 lowest unemployment rates for large metro areas
Topping the list, is Boston with an unemployment rate of 2.5%. Only two other large metros had an unemployment rate below 3%: Denver (2.6%), and Salt Lake City (2.7%). For comparison, the national unemployment rate for December was 4.5%.

Among large metro areas, Boston also tops the list for largest decrease in the unemployment rate over the course of 2016, dropping 1.5% from an already low rate of 4% in December, 2015:

arge metro areas with decreases in employment in 2016
Other metro areas to have seen a decrease in unemployment of 1% or more were Las Vegas (1.2%), Detroit (1.1%), Hartford, CT (1.1%), Seattle-Tacoma (1.0%), and Providence, RI (1.0%). The national unemployment rate fell 0.3% over the course of 2016. The outlier in this list is Detroit with an unemployment rate of 10.4% as of December, more than twice the national rate.

Of the 51 metro areas with population of at least 1 million, only twelve saw unemployment increase over the course of 2016:
arge metro areas with increases in employment in 2016

Most of these metros had low unemployment rates as of December, 2015, and for most of them the increase has only been a fraction of a percent. However, Cleveland not only saw the largest increase in unemployment over 2016, it also has the highest unemployment rate of 10.7% as of December, 2016. Only Detroit comes close with its 10.4% unemployment rate (though Detroit’s unemployment rate decreased in 2016). All other larger metro areas posted unemployment rates less than 5.5% in December.