Compared to a year earlier, unemployment rates were down in 342 of the 372 metropolitan areas in April 2012, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) press release. Other highlights of the latest BLS release:

  • El Centro, California and Yuma, Arizona reported the highest unemployment rates in April 2012, 26.8 percent and 26.0 percent, respectively;
  • The national unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, down from 8.7 percent a year earlier;
  • Ten metro areas reported unemployment rates of 15.0 percent or higher; of these, nine are located in California;
  • Unemployment rates in 41 metro areas were 10.0 percent or higher;
  • Nine metro areas had unemployment rates equal to the national unemployment rate, while 149 metro areas reported rates above it, and 214 metro areas reported rates below it;
  • Unemployment rates in 163 metro areas were 7.0 percent or lower;
  • Bismarck, North Dakota reported the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.8 percent.

Employment trends can paint a vivid picture of a local area economy. To help provide you with a snapshot view of these trends, MuniNet Guide recently added employment, unemployment, and labor force data for all U.S. metro areas.

To access employment-related data for a specific metro area:

1. Enter the name of a city in the search box located to the right of the U.S. map on the home page.

2. Within the search results, click on the profile for that city.

3. At the bottom of the Demographics tab on the city profile page, you will see a bar chart showing five-year unemployment trends. Click on the link to “continue for more info,” which will result in additional data and graphs showing employment and unemployment trends and comparisons.

You can also access MuniNet Guide’s Employment by Metro Area Index page, which includes links to employment data for metro areas listed by state, as well as the metro areas with the most positive and most negative employment trends.

Note: uses and presents seasonally adjusted data. The data referenced in the BLS April 2012 release is not seasonally adjusted, which might result in slightly different numbers in their data versus ours.