Reporting a jobless rate of 2.0 percent, Billings, Montana and Logan, Utah tied for the lowest unemployment rate of all metro areas for March 2007. According to a recent release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for the same period was 4.5 percent.
With nearly 100,000 residents, according to 2005 estimates, Billings has experienced consistent population growth over the past decade, and that increase is expected to continue well into the next decade.
Tourism, healthcare, and agriculture are the larger industries in the Billings area. Its proximity to Yellowstone Park and other tourist attractions have helped fuel the city’s economy. Billings is poised for continued growth and expansion, with many construction projects and new developments underway.
Logan’s population is about half that of Billings, with a population under 50,000. Home to Utah State University, its largest employer, Logan is known as a college town. Manufacturing and retail industries also support the city’s employment base.
On the other end of the scale, El Centro, California reported the highest unemployment rate 13.2 percent for the month. El Centro’s economy heavily relies on the agriculture and farming, which accounts for seasonal changes in its unemployment figures. With a roughly one-fifth of its population below the poverty line, many residents lack the tools or resources to move to areas with better employment opportunities, resulting in a structural unemployment scenario.