"More Cities Seeing at Least 15% Unemployment
The rising U.S. unemployment rate is well known — but what’s happening at the metro level shows just how much parts of the country are suffering. The Labor Department today released March unemployment rates for 310 metropolitan areas, and the picture isn’t pretty.
El Centro, Calif., is again at the top of the list, as unemployment there hit a jaw-dropping 25% in March. The next highest rates were recorded in Merced, Calif., and Yuba City, Calif., each with about 20% unemployment, and beleaguered manufacturing city Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana, at about 19%. In total, 18 U.S. metro areas now have unemployment rates of 15% or more.
Along with Elkhart-Goshen, Bend, Oregon, which has been hit hard by the housing bust, and furniture-making capital Hickory-Lenoir-Morgantown, N.C., saw the biggest yearly jumps in their unemployment rates. Among metro areas with a population of one million or more, Portland, Charlotte and Detroit had the highest year-over-year increases in unemployment.
On a brighter note, Iowa City and Houma, La., had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, just 3.6% as of March. Ames, Iowa, was close behind with a 3.7% rate. Of the larger cities, New Orleans surprised with the lowest jobless rate, 5.3%, while Oklahoma City was a close second.
Click Continue Reading for a chart of all metro areas, sortable by area, state, March jobless rate and the change from 2008."