In April 2020, the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed U.S. unemployment to near Great Depression levels. The rate began to fall throughout the year and into 2021. While the jobless rate has not fallen to the 3.5% level it posted in early 2020, it dropped to 5.5% in May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, in some cities, the rate is over double that.
According to the bureau’s Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment report for May 2021, every one of the 389 metros measured had an improvement in its jobless rate from the same month a year ago. Additionally, the report showed “A total of 27 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and 6 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent.”
The city with the lowest unemployment rate is Burlington, Vermont, where the figure is 1.4%. The metro’s civilian labor force is 116,071, of which only 1,402 are without jobs.
According to the Census Bureau, Burlington has a population that is 83% white. Its median household income is $74,909, which is above the national average. Its 11.5% poverty rate is about the same as the national number.
The city with the highest unemployment rate in May was Yuma, Arizona, where the figure was 17.0%. This city usually has among the highest rates in the country. Yuma had a civilian labor force of 94,531. Of this number, 16,093 were without jobs. At least the jobless rate has dropped from 21.5% in May 2020.