The job market in U.S. cities continued to improve last month, as unemployment rates declined in more than half of the 372 largest cities, according to The Associated Press (AP). Figures from the Labor Department show that Bismarck, N.D., with 2.2 percent , had the lowest rate among U.S. cities in October, while Yuma, Ariz., had the highest rate at 29.8 percent.
Unemployment rates fell in 201 metro areas in October, according to the Labor Department. Rates rose in 116 metros and were unchanged in 55. The national unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September, primarily because more Americans began looking for work.
There were signs of continuing economic recovery as the number of metro areas with sharply higher unemployment is declining. In October, 35 metros had unemployment rates of 10 percent or above. That’s the same number as in September, but it is down from 80 metros that had high unemployment rates a year ago.
Bismarck, benefitting from an oil and gas drilling boom, led among cities with the lowest unemployment rates in October. It was followed by Fargo, N.D., 2.8 percent; Grand Forks, N.D., 3.1 percent; Lincoln, Neb., 3.2 percent; and Midland, Texas, 3.3 percent.
Yuma, which includes large numbers of migrant farm workers, topped the list of cities with the highest unemployment rates. It was followed by El Centro, Calif., 28.1 percent; Yuba City, Calif., 15.3 percent; Merced, Calif., 14.7 percent; and Visalia-Porterville, Calif., 14.4 percent.