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Unemployment rates decline in over two-thirds of U.S. metro areas for year ending March 2016

May 06, 2016

Unemployment rates were lower in March 2016 than a year earlier in 270 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 98 areas, and unchanged in 19 areas. Ten areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent, and 11 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent. El Centro, California, and Yuma, Arizona, had the largest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases (–4.1 percentage points each), while Casper, Wyoming (+2.6 percentage points), and Odessa, Texas (+2.2 points), had the largest increases. The national unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in March 2016, down from 5.6 percent a year earlier.

Metropolitan area unemployment rates, not seasonally adjusted, March 2016

Hover over a bubble to see data.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ames, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had the lowest unemployment rates in March 2016 (2.4 percent each). El Centro, California, had the highest unemployment rate (18.6 percent). A total of 195 areas had March 2016 jobless rates that were below the U.S. rate of 5.1 percent, 181 areas had rates above it, and 11 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, Austin-Round Rock, Texas, had the lowest unemployment rate in March, 3.1 percent. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin, had the highest rate among the large areas, 6.6 percent. Thirty-six large areas had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, 11 had increases, and 4 had no change. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, and Memphis, Tennessee-Mississippi-Arkansas, had the largest over-the-year rate decreases (–1.7 percentage points each) among the large areas. The largest over-the-year rate increases among the large areas occurred in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin and in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (+0.6 percentage point each).

These data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program and are not seasonally adjusted. Data for the most recent month are preliminary and subject to revision. To learn more, see “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment — March 2016” (HTML) (PDF).


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Unemployment rates decline in over two-thirds of U.S. metro areas for year ending March 2016 at (visited July 15, 2024).

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