IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Unemployment rises in most metro areas

The unemployment rate in about three-quarters of the nation's largest metro areas rose last month as seasonal factors boosted joblessness nationwide.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The unemployment rate in about three-quarters of the nation's largest metro areas rose last month as nearly one million teenagers entered the work force looking for summer jobs.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the unemployment rate rose in 291 of 374 areas in June from May. It fell in 55 areas and was flat in 28. That reverses the trend of the previous three months, when joblessness fell in most metro areas.

But the report does not adjust the figures to take into account seasonal trends, such as high school or college students looking for work during the summer. As a result the figures tend to be volatile from month to month.

The economic recovery has spurred some hiring, with private employers adding an average of 100,000 jobs each month this year. But the pace of hiring slowed in May and June and isn't nearly fast enough to bring down the unemployment rate.

Earlier this month, the government said the nation's unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 9.5 percent in June from 9.7 percent in May. But before adjusting for seasonal factors, the rate actually rose to 9.6 percent from 9.3 percent.

The government seasonally adjusts most of its economic indicators to reflect broader economic trends.

Most of the cities with the largest increases in unemployment last month are college and university towns. Tuscaloosa, Ala., home to the University of Alabama, reported the second-largest jump in unemployment in the country, from 9 percent to 11.3 percent.

Bismarck, N.D., where Bismarck State College and several other institutions are located, had the largest proportional increase in unemployment, from 3 percent to 3.8 percent. Still, the city remained the metro area with the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

The unemployment rate in Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University, rose to 5.8 percent from 4.8 percent, the sixth-largest rise. Grand Forks, N.D.; Fargo, N.D.; Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; Columbia, Mo.; and College Station-Bryan, Texas, all have major universities and all were among the areas with the 10 largest increases in unemployment.

Among cities with more than 1 million residents, Las Vegas reported the highest jobless rate, at 14.5 percent. That was up from 14.1 percent in May.

The Washington metro area, bolstered by widespread federal government hiring, reported the lowest unemployment rate among large metro areas, with 6.4 percent. It was followed by Oklahoma City, Okla., which has benefited from the oil and gas industry, at 6.7 percent.

El Centro, Calif. and Yuma, Ariz. posted the highest unemployment rates in the country, 27.6 percent and 26.4 percent respectively. The two areas have large populations of seasonal agricultural workers.

Twelve areas recorded unemployment rates of 15 percent or higher, the government said, with 10 of them in California.