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Associated Press, Published September 30 2010

Bismarck, Fargo have lowest jobless rates in US

WASHINGTON – Unemployment fell in nearly two-thirds of the nation’s 372 largest metro areas last month, the broadest improvement since May.

The jobless rate dropped in 230 cities in August, the Labor Department said Wednesday. It rose in 95 cities and was flat in 47. That’s an improvement from the previous month, when rates fell in only 152 areas.

Nationwide, unemployment ticked up in August to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent the previous month. Businesses added a net total of 67,000 jobs, but about twice as many temporary census jobs ended.

Bismarck reported the lowest jobless rate last month, at 3.1 percent, followed by Fargo at 3.7 percent and Lincoln, Neb., with 3.9 percent.

The metro report does not adjust its figures to take into account seasonal trends, such as high unemployment among agricultural workers before fall harvests begin. As a result, the figures can differ from the national trend and can be volatile from month to month.

The biggest monthly declines in unemployment were in cities in Mississippi and Michigan. Cities in Washington state and Louisiana, among others, saw the biggest increases.

The housing slump and rising foreclosures are holding back many cities out West, where unemployment rates are rising more than a year after the recession ended. Some economists forecast that trend will continue, even as other regions experience job growth.

For example, unemployment rose to 14.7 percent last month in Las Vegas, the city with the highest foreclosure rate. That’s up from 13 percent in August 2009. Reno’s unemployment rose to 13.3 percent from 11.7 percent a year ago and the rate in Carson City, Nevada’s capital, rose to 13.1 percent from 11.6 percent.


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