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.

Looking at only the nationwide unemployment rate can hide significant disparities between cities that are thriving and those that are struggling.

 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 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.

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:
Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

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.

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