Among the 27 metro areas reviewed, the Washington DC area had the lowest June 2011 unemployment rate of 6.2 percent while Las Vegas had the highest, at 13.8 percent.
Looking at changes in the last year, 23 large metro areas reviewed saw decreases, or improvement, in the unemployment rate. Four large metro areas reviewed saw an increase, or worsening, in the unemployment rate in that time period. By comparison, the unemployment rate in the US decreased by 0.3 percentage points in the year.
Las Vegas had the greatest improvement in unemployment rate over the year. The unemployment rate there fell by 1.5 percentage points, from 15.4 percent to 13.9 percent. This good news is somewhat tempered by the fact that in the same period, Las Vegas saw a decline in the size of the labor force of 2.9 percent. By comparison, the US labor force declined by 0.2 percent in the same period.
Detroit; Portland, OR; Cleveland and St. Louis followed Las Vegas in improvement in the unemployment rate. Each area had a drop of 1 percentage point or more in the year.
Atlanta, Dallas, Memphis, and Houston had increases in their unemployment rates over the year, but these were small (less than 0.3 percentage point) except in Memphis where the increase was 0.9 percent.
The recent national trend of an increasing unemployment rate for the past few months is seen in nearly every metro area covered in this review.