1 of 2 | Hiring remains strong in most major metropolitan areas compared to year-ago levels, though weekly claims increased nationwide, federal data show. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The unemployment rate in November was lower than year-ago levels for about 60% of the major U.S. metropolitan areas, with Fargo, N.D., boasting the lowest rate in the nation at 1.5%, federal data show.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that 235 of the 389 major metropolitan areas saw unemployment rates inch below year-ago levels in November, 133 reported higher jobless rates and the situation was more or less unchanged for the rest.
"A total of 150 areas had jobless rates of less than 3% and two areas had rates of at least 10%," the agency reported.
Fargo's low jobless rate, meanwhile, was in stark contrast to El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., which had the highest rates of unemployment at 16.7% and 16.3%, respectively. Yuma's 5% year-on-year increase in unemployment through November was the largest in the nation.
The largest year-on-year employment gains, meanwhile, came from the New York metropolitan area, which covers Newark and Jersey City in the federal data.
Week-on-week, and the outlook is a bit more troubling. The government reported Thursday that new claims of unemployment support increased by 9,000 during the week ending Dec. 24.
Missouri saw the largest increase in new files, with 4,785 more people filing claims than during the week ending Dec. 17.
The job market is holding up against concerns about inflation and a possible recession. In its December survey, the U.S. Conference Board found that confidence in the economy remains high over the short and long term, though wage prospects remain something of a concern.
Only 12% of those responding to the Conference Board felt that jobs were hard to get and just 18% expected hiring problems to last. Wages, meanwhile, aren't keeping up with inflation and the outlook from the Conference Board was poor. Only 16.7% of those surveyed expected to get a raise any time soon, down from 17.1% from the November report.
Policymakers at the U.S. Federal Reserve have been countering inflation with aggressive rate hikes while at the same time warning that job losses may be an unfortunate result of their actions. Steady job losses would be a sure sign of a formal recession, but hiring remains strong and labor shortages remain a concern in some segments of the U.S. economy.