Unemployment rates in a substantial majority of cities across the country were lower in September than a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The report anticipates Friday’s job’s report, the last to be released before Tuesday’s election.
Of the 372 metropolitan areas, 345 posted lower unemployment rates in September, the most in seven months. Jobless rates were higher in 22 areas and unchanged in five. The national unemployment rate last month was a not seasonally adjusted 7.6 percent, down from 8.8 percent a year earlier.
Fewer metropolitan areas—35 down from 84 a year earlier—reported jobless rates of at least 10 percent, while nearly double the areas from a year ago (171 vs. 92) posted rates below 7 percent. A total of 217 areas recorded September unemployment rates before the U.S. national figure of 7.6 percent, the BLS reports, while 146 areas reported rates exceeding it and nine areas had rates that were equal.
Which metropolitan areas had the highest and lowest unemployment rates last month? Yuma, Ariz and El Centro, Calif, recorded the highest, 29.7 percent and 28.5 percent, respectively. Bismark, ND, registered the lowest, 2.2 percent.
Unemployment does not rate as a primary campaign issue for Affluent households, according to a Millionaire survey conducted last month. Nearly half (47 percent) said the economy is the most important campaign issue. Nine percent cited unemployment. Not surprisingly, it is a more important to households with a net worth of less than $100,000 (11 percent) as well as younger households under the age of 40 (12 percent).
The BLS report on local unemployment rates comes a week before the presidential election. Several metropolitan areas in the designated swing states saw year-to-year jobless rate declines. In Las Vegas, the jobless rate is down from 14 percent to 11.5 percent. In Miami, the rate fell from 10.4 percent last year to 8.4 percent.
A BLS report released earlier in October found that unemployment rates fell in 41 states and the District of Columbia last month, while unemployment increased in six states. Three states recorded no change. Among the dozen designated battleground states, the unemployment rate dropped in nine, increased in one, and was unchanged in two.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.