August Unemployment Rate of 3.8% Little Changed From 2018

Unemployment rates were lower in August than a year earlier in 224 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 132 areas, and unchanged in 33 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Oct. 2. A total of 82 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and 2 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 52 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in the remaining 337 areas. The national unemployment rate in August was 3.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted, little changed from a year earlier.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly programs. The civilian labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the national household survey estimates. These data pertain to individuals by where they reside. The employment data are from an establishment survey that measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry. These data pertain to jobs on payrolls defined by where the establishments are located. For more information about the concepts and statistical methodologies used by these two programs, see the Technical Note.

Metropolitan Area Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

In August, Portland-South Portland, ME, had the lowest unemployment rate, 1.7 percent. The next lowest rates were in Ames, IA, and Burlington-South Burlington, VT, 1.9 percent each. Yuma, AZ, and El Centro, CA, had the highest unemployment rates, 23.0 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively. A total of 192 areas had August jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 3.8 percent, 172 areas had rates above it, and 25 areas had rates equal to that of the nation. (See table 1.)

Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL, had the largest over-the-year unemployment rate decrease in August (-1.6 percentage points). Nineteen other areas had rate declines of at least 1.0 percentage point. The largest over-the-year rate increase occurred in Yuma, AZ (+1.6 percentage points).

Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, Birmingham-Hoover, AL; Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH; and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO, had the lowest unemployment rates in August, 2.6 percent each. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ, had the highest jobless rate among the large areas, 4.7 percent. Thirty-seven large areas had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, nine had increases, and five had no change. The largest rate decreases occurred in Birmingham-Hoover, AL (-1.1 percentage points), and Cleveland-Elyria, OH (-1.0 point). The largest jobless rate increases were in Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI; Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI; and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA (+0.4 percentage point each).

Metropolitan Division Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

Eleven of the most populous metropolitan areas are made up of 38 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers. In August, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA, had the lowest unemployment rate among the divisions, 2.2 percent. Tacoma-Lakewood, WA, had the highest division rate, 5.7 percent. (See table 2.)

In August, 31 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, 4 had increases, and 3 had no change. The largest rate decline occurred in Elgin, IL (-1.0 percentage point). The largest over-the-year jobless rate increase occurred in Tacoma-Lakewood, WA (+0.7 percentage point).

Metropolitan Area Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

In August, 52 metropolitan areas had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment and 337 were essentially unchanged. The largest over-the-year employment increases occurred in New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (+134,200), Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (+115,800), and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX (+81,900). The largest over-the-year percentage gains in employment occurred in Ocean City, NJ (+7.0 percent), Reno, NV (+5.5 percent), and Ogden-Clearfield, UT (+4.6 percent). (See table 3.)

Over the year, nonfarm employment rose in 32 of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, while employment was essentially unchanged in 19 areas. The largest over-the-year percentage increases in employment in these large metropolitan areas occurred in Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL (+4.0 percent), Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX, and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA (+3.1 percent each), and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX, and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ (+2.7 percent each).

Metropolitan Division Nonfarm Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

In August, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 14 of the 38 metropolitan divisions over the year and was essentially unchanged in 24 divisions. The largest over-the-year increase in employment among the metropolitan divisions occurred in New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ (+109,800), followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX (+100,300), and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA (+59,100). (See table 4.)

The largest over-the-year percentage increases in employment occurred in Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX (+3.8 percent), Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA (+3.2 percent), and San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA (+3.1 percent).