City jobless picture brightens a little

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of cities that showed a year-over-year improvement in their unemployment rate nearly doubled in March, according to the Labor Department.

In statistics released Wednesday, the department said 41 metropolitan areas posted unemployment rates that were lower in March than they were a year earlier. In February, only 21 metro areas showed a year-over-year improvement.

Nevertheless, 321 of the nation's 372 metropolitan areas posted higher jobless rates on an annual basis, with 10 areas showing no change. In February, jobless rates rose in 347 areas.

Hard hit in the beginning of the recession, Elkhart, Ind. - the so-called "RV capital of the world" - showed the biggest improvement, dropping to a 15.2% jobless rate last month from a 20.1% rate in March 2009.

Those numbers are in line with the national jobless picture, which has shown small improvement, or rather, "things don't appear to be getting worse," said Brian Hannon, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Labor Department's latest national report, released in early April, showed the U.S. economy gained 162,000 jobs in March, more than any other month in the last three years. The unemployment rate remained stubbornly high, holding steady at 9.7%.

Nevertheless, 28 metropolitan areas - including Elkhart - still reported severe unemployment rates at or above 15% in March.

Among the largest metropolitan areas, Detroit continued to report the highest jobless rate at 15.5%, up from 15.3% in February. Riverside, Calif. was second, as it has been for months, with a 15% unemployment rate, up from 14.8%.

New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C. had the lowest jobless rates of the big cities, all reporting rates below 7%.

El Centro, Calif., which is highly affected by seasonal agricultural jobs, posted the highest unemployment rate among all 372 metropolitam areas in the survey at 27%.

The Labor Department's Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary breaks out unemployment rates by city and lags the nationwide jobs report by about a month.

The next national jobs report, showing April numbers, is scheduled for release on May 7. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,071.22 -41.93 -0.25%
Nasdaq 4,505.85 -6.34 -0.14%
S&P 500 1,977.80 -5.05 -0.25%
Treasuries 2.51 0.01 0.60%
Data as of 8:52am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 15.11 -1.22 -7.47%
Bank of America Corp... 17.01 -0.02 -0.12%
Apple Inc 100.11 -0.62 -0.62%
Yahoo! Inc 40.52 -0.14 -0.34%
Facebook Inc 79.00 0.21 0.27%
Data as of Sep 29

Sections

As demonstrations continue to disrupt normal operations in Hong Kong, both experts and residents are considering the long-term impact that the pro-democracy protest will have on the international finance hub. More

On Wednesday, 17% of First Green Bank's 66 employees will get a raise under the company's new "living wage" program. The guarantee: At least about $30,000 a year. More

Wine in anything but a glass bottle used to get a bad rap. But times are changing. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.