WASHINGTON - Unemployment rates are falling in most metro areas across the country, suggesting that recent nationwide gains in hiring are widespread.
While its unemployment rate rose to 10.6 percent in February, Pierce County added 500 jobs in the January-to-February period.
More than three-quarters of the nation’s 372 largest metro areas reported lower unemployment rates in February than the previous month, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That’s the most to report a decline since September.
And more than 300 areas added jobs in February compared with the previous month. That’s a much better showing than January, when most metro areas lost jobs.
The gains “are definitely becoming a lot more broad-based,” said Marisa DiNatale, a regional economist at Moody’s Analytics.
The metro areas that posted the biggest job gains in February, compared with the previous month, were: Los Angeles-Long Beach, with a gain of 53,600; New York City-Northern New Jersey, a gain of 18,500; and Miami-Fort Lauderdale, up 16,800.
The metro employment data is distorted by seasonal trends, such as the layoff of temporary retail employees after the holidays. Since it is not seasonally adjusted, it is more volatile from one month to the next.
More than 300 cities have seen their unemployment rates decline in the past year, the best showing since the recession ended in June 2009.
And 284 metro areas reported job gains in the past year, also the most since the recession ended.
washington metro numbers
Figures are in percentages.
Feb. 2011Feb. 2010
The Associated Press