The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -More than 90 percent of the nation's largest metropolitan areas saw their unemployment rates climb in June from the previous month.
Some of the biggest increases hit college towns, where the annual summertime exodus of students causes bars, restaurants and other businesses to cut staff. The Detroit area, hit hard by manufacturing layoffs tied to the beleaguered auto industry, also got stung in June.
Unemployment rates rose from May to June in 348 of more than 370 metro areas, according to an Associated Press analysis of Labor Department data released Wednesday.
The figures aren't adjusted to account for seasonal trends, such as lifeguards hired during summer or retail clerks let go after the holiday shopping season. So they tend to be volatile from month to month.
The Labor Department does not provide seasonally adjusted metro area unemployment data. It does adjust the national unemployment rate for seasonal factors. The U.S. jobless rate, which hit 9.5 percent in June, is expected to rise to 9.7 percent when the department reports the July rate next week.
Tuscaloosa,Ala., home to the University of Alabama, suffered the biggest monthly increase in unemployment from May to June. Its jobless rate jumped to 12.5 percent in June, up 3.8 percentage points.
Michigan's metro area of Detroit-Warren-Livonia posted the second-biggest monthly gain. The unemployment rate there climbed to 17.1 percent, a gain of 2.2 percentage points.
Pocatello, site of Idaho State University, saw the third-biggest monthly rise. The metro area's unemployment rate rose to 7.8 percent in June, up 2 percentage points from May.
Next were Laredo, Texas, home of Laredo Community College, with a June jobless rate of 9.4 percent; Lafayette, Ind., which includes Purdue University, with a rate of 10.5 percent; and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, at 11.1 percent. Each saw its unemployment rate rise 1.7 percentage points from May.
When the unemployment data is seasonally adjusted and viewed over the past year, all 372 of the largest metro areas saw their unemployment rates move higher in June for the sixth month in a row, the Labor Department said.
Kokomo, Ind., suffered the biggest over-the-year gain in unemployment. Its rate rose to 19.2 percent in June, an increase of 11.8 percentage points from June 2008. Elkhart-Goshen had the second-largest gain. Its jobless rate of 16.8 percent was up 10 percentage points from last year. Monroe, Mich., the third-biggest gainer, registered an unemployment rate of 17.1 percent in June, up 8.6 percentage points from a year ago.
Other big over-the-month gainers were: Gadsden, Ala., which includes Gadsden State Community College among other schools. The unemployment rate there rose to 11.1 percent in June.
Alexandria, La., saw its unemployment rate rise 7.5 percent. And the jobless rate in College Station-Bryan, Texas, home to Texas A&M, rose to 6.5 percent. All three areas suffered month-to-month increases of 1.6 percentagepoints.
Seven metro areas saw their jobless rates hold steady from May to June. One of them was Yuma, Ariz., whose steady unemployment rate was probably cold comfort: It remained at 23.1 percent, second-highest in the country.
Other metro areas whose unemployment rates didn't budge last month: Portsmouth, N.H., at 5.7 percent; Asheville, N.C., at 9.2; Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor in Ohio, at 10.1 percent; Sioux Fall, S.D., at 4.7 percent (tied for the fourth-lowest in the nation); Danville, Va., at 12.8 percent; and Spokane, Wash., at 8.9 percent.
And 18 metro areas saw their unemployment rates drop from May. One was El Centro, Calif., which still laid claim to the highest unemployment rate in the country in June: 27.5 percent. That was down from 28.7 percent in May. (Unemployment there is notoriously high because of many seasonal farm workers without jobs.)
Another: Indiana's Elkhart-Goshen, which has been pounded by layoffs in the RV industry. Its jobless rate dropped to 16.8 percent in June, from 17.5 percent in May. The unemployment rate in Wenatchee-East Wenatchee, Wash., fell to 7.7 percent, and in Yakima, it dropped to 8.2 percent.