El Centro Had An Unemployment Rate of 25.1% in March

logo - us bureau of labor statisticsAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a full 109 metropolitan areas in the United States can now claim that they have unemployment rates of over 10%.

This is more than eight times the number from just a year earlier, and clearly illustrates just how bad the job market is in the United States.

The city with the absolute worst unemployment number in March of 2009 was El Centro, California.

If you thought that things were bad in your neck of the woods, just wait until you see the unemployment rate in El Centro.

25.1%. That was El Centro's unemployment rate in March of 2009. This is about three times worse than the national average.

The scary thing is that this number doesn't take into account underemployed people (people who are working part-time but want and need full-time work), and also doesn't count "marginally attached" workers who want a job, are unemployed and have given up (at least temporarily) on finding work.

As a matter of fact, four of the top five worst metropolitan areas in terms of unemployment rates are located in California. They are:

El Centro, California - 25.1%
Merced, California - 20.4%
Yuba City - 19.5%
Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana - 18.8%
Visalia-Porterville, California - 17.7%

Elkhart-Goshen's unemployment rate has jumped over 10% in the past year or so. The RV industry employs many workers in Elkhart-Goshen, and a downturn in that industry has forced layoffs, which has in turn caused the unemployment rate in Elkhart-Goshen to spike higher.

El Centro is home to a large number of seasonal agricultural workers, so this will skew their number higher.

Some other interesting pieces of data that were included in the Bureau of Labor Statistic's report:

-less than 100 metropolitan areas in the United States have unemployment rates of less than 7%

-the lowest unemployment rate (3.6%) was shared by Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, Louisiana, and Iowa City, Iowa.

-eight of the top ten worst unemployment rates belonged to California. The other two areas were Elkhart-Goshen (as mentioned), and Bend, Oregon. Bend has been particularly hard-hit by layoffs in the steel-fabrication industry.

-the metropolitan areas with a population of over 1 million that had the worst unemployment rates were Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Michigan (14%) and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California (12.9%).

-the metropolitan area with the lowest unemployment rate (5.3%) was New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, Louisiana

All in all, the report surprised no one in terms of its overall gloominess.

The bad news - the unemployment numbers in the United States are very bad and just keep getting worse.

The good news - unemployment numbers are a lagging indicator, and the economy will be well on its road to recovery by the time that unemployment numbers start to tick lower.

Source: BLS.gov - Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Filed under: The Economic Meltdown

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