Blogging on Employment and Job Markets in US Metro Areas

March Metro Area Unemployment Update

The BLS recently released March unemployment figures for metro areas, so let’s take a look, focusing on the nation’s 51 largest metro areas (those that had population of 1 million or more as of the 2000 census):

Denver had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.4% (down from 3.6% as of March 2016), and is the only large metro area with an employment rate less than 3%. A year earlier, March 2016, Austin, Texas had the lowest rate at 3.1%. In March the national unemployment rate was 4.6%, down from 5.1% a year earlier.

Compared to year earlier, six large metro areas saw their unemployment rates drop by more 1%, Chicago with the largest drop of 1.8%:

Of the 51 largest metros, only eight did not see a decrease in their unemployment rate from a year earlier. Of those eight, two were unchanged from a year earlier: Baltimore and Memphis. Here are the six that saw an increase in unemployment from March 2016:

Interestingly, four of those six are Texas metro areas. As noted above, as of March 2016, Austin, Texas had the lowest unemployment rate of any large metro area at 3.1%.

Here is a table showing the March 2016 unemployment rate, March 2017 unemployment rate, and the change in unemployment rate for all 51 large metro areas. The table can be sorted by any of its columns.

Metro AreaMarch 2016
March 2017
Chicago, IL6.3%4.5%-1.8%
Las Vegas, NV6.1%4.8%-1.3%
Denver, CO3.6%2.4%-1.2%
Indianapolis, IN4.7%3.5%-1.2%
Seattle-Tacoma, WA4.8%3.7%-1.1%
Providence, RI5.9%4.8%-1.1%
Milwaukee, WI4.7%3.7%-1.0%
Portland, OR4.9%3.9%-1.0%
St. Louis, MO5.0%4.0%-1.0%
New York, NY5.0%4.1%-0.9%
Los Angeles, CA5.0%4.2%-0.8%
Hartford, CT5.9%5.1%-0.8%
San Diego, CA4.9%4.2%-0.7%
Philadelphia, PA5.3%4.6%-0.7%
Inland Empire, CA6.0%5.3%-0.7%
Pittsburgh, PA6.1%5.4%-0.7%
Phoenix, AZ4.7%4.1%-0.6%
New Orleans, LA5.5%4.9%-0.6%
Sacramento, CA5.6%5.0%-0.6%
Birmingham, AL5.6%5.0%-0.6%
Atlanta, GA5.1%4.6%-0.5%
San Francisco, CA4.0%3.5%-0.5%
San Jose, CA4.1%3.6%-0.5%
Orlando, FL4.4%3.9%-0.5%
Jacksonville, FL4.6%4.1%-0.5%
Boston, MA3.8%3.4%-0.4%
Columbus, OH4.4%4.0%-0.4%
Cincinnati, OH4.6%4.2%-0.4%
Hampton Roads, VA4.6%4.2%-0.4%
Miami, FL5.0%4.6%-0.4%
Tampa, FL4.5%4.1%-0.4%
Salt Lake City, UT3.6%3.2%-0.4%
Detroit, MI5.5%5.1%-0.4%
Oklahoma City, OK4.1%3.8%-0.3%
Charlotte, NC4.7%4.4%-0.3%
Louisville, KY4.7%4.4%-0.3%
Washington, DC3.9%3.7%-0.2%
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN4.0%3.8%-0.2%
Richmond, VA4.1%3.9%-0.2%
Raleigh, NC4.3%4.1%-0.2%
Kansas City, MO4.4%4.2%-0.2%
Buffalo, NY5.4%5.2%-0.2%
Rochester, NY4.9%4.8%-0.1%
Baltimore, MD4.5%4.5%0.0%
Memphis, TN5.0%5.0%0.0%
Nashville, TN3.5%3.6%0.1%
Austin, TX3.1%3.6%0.5%
San Antonio, TX3.6%4.1%0.5%
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX3.8%4.3%0.5%
Houston, TX4.9%5.7%0.8%
Cleveland, OH5.5%6.5%1.0%
data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics