WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rose in nearly all of the 372 largest U.S. cities in January compared to the previous month, mostly because of seasonal changes such as the layoff of temporary retail employees hired for the holidays.
The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose in 351 metro areas, fell in only 16, and was unchanged in 5. That’s worse than December, when the rate fell in 207 areas and increased in 122.
Other seasonal trends, such as the layoff of construction workers due to winter weather, also contributed to the widespread increase.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in January from 9.4 percent in December. It ticked down to 8.9 percent in February. But the national data is seasonally adjusted, while the metro data isn’t, which makes it more volatile. The metro data also lags the national report by one month.
(LLRepublic NOTE: The real unemployment rate when using U-6 rates was closer to 17% in Feb. U-6 includes short-term discouraged unemployed and those forced to work part-time who cannot get full-time hours. Most only report U-3 rates which leaves out many groups and causes the rate to appear to hover around 9%.)
The report shows that metro areas hit hard by the housing crisis are still struggling with high unemployment. At the same time, a strong recovery in the manufacturing sector, particularly among U.S. auto companies, has bolstered many smaller cities in the Midwest.