The cities with the highest — and lowest — unemployment levels
Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston have the country's highest unemployment rates among metro areas with more than 1 million workers, according to a new Axios analysis of the latest local-level Labor Department data.
- Miami, Minneapolis and Tampa Bay have among the lowest unemployment rates.
Why it matters: Looking at only the nationwide unemployment rate can hide significant disparities between cities that are thriving and those that are struggling.
By the numbers: Nationally, the unemployment rate was 3.5% as of March — down 0.1 percentage point from the previous month, and down 0.1 percentage point year over year.
- As of February — the latest month for which city-level data is available — unemployment was below 3% in a handful of U.S. metro areas, including Miami (2.2%), Minneapolis (2.4%) and Tampa (2.5%).
- But it was above 4% in other cities, including in Las Vegas (5.7%), Chicago (4.4%), Los Angeles (4.3%) and Houston (4.3%).
Zoom in: Miami, New Orleans and Philadelphia have all seen a particularly noteworthy drop in unemployment, with rates falling by more than a percentage point in each of those cities between February 2022 and February 2023.
Zoom out: City-level unemployment figures tend to closely track the national trend, with minor deviations driven by the local economic situation.
- Here's a look at Chicago, for example:
The bottom line: While unemployment is down nationally, some cities are struggling with it more than others.
- The Fed, meanwhile, is keeping a close eye on employment levels as a measure of the economy's overall temperature.
Go deeper: U.S. economy adds 236,000 jobs in March as labor market stays strong
- March jobs numbers point to healthy but not-too-hot economy
- Wage growth returns with cooling inflation
- Listen to the Axios Today podcast, where host Niala Boodhoo and Alex Fitzpatrick break down unemployment rates at the city level in the U.S.