Illinois, Indiana cities buck dip in U.S. jobless rates
The good news: Unemployment rates fell in 306 of the nation's 372 metropolitan areas in March, compared with a year earlier.
The bad news: Unemployment rates rose in 44 metro areas, and many of those were concentrated in Illinois and Indiana.
In Illinois, six of 10 metro areas had higher unemployment rates in March than a year earlier. Champaign-Urbana's rate was 7.9 percent, up from 7.8 percent, and Danville's rate was 10.8 percent, up from 9.7 percent. Springfield, Decatur, Peoria and Chicago also had higher rates than a year ago.
In Indiana, 12 of 13 metro areas had higher unemployment rates than a year earlier.
Also languishing were Arkansas, where four of six metro areas had increases, and New Hampshire, where all three metro areas saw spikes in unemployment.
But many parts of the country seemed to be faring better than a year ago, according to the figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
All 26 of California's metro areas, for instance, saw drops in unemployment rates from March 2012.
Midland, Texas, had the lowest unemployment rate — 3.1 percent — of the nation's metro areas in March.
Other metro areas with unemployment rates less than 4 percent included: Iowa City, Iowa; Ames, Iowa; Lincoln, Neb.; Bismarck, N.D.; Odessa, Texas; Logan, Utah; and Burlington, Vt.
The highest unemployment rate was 26 percent in Yuma, Ariz., followed by 23.7 percent in El Centro, Calif.
Five other metro areas had rates over 15 percent, with four of those in California and the fifth being Ocean City, N.J.
Yuma also had the biggest year-over-year jump in unemployment, with its rate rising from 22.7 percent to 26 percent (up 3.3 percentage points).
The second largest jump — 1.4 percentage points — came in Decatur, Ill., where the rate rose from 10.4 percent to 11.8 percent.
The biggest shrinkage in unemployment rates — 2.9 percent points — occurred in Yuba City, Calif., where the rate declined from 19.8 percent to 16.9 percent.