If jobs are the primary measure of the strength of the American economy, the economy is colossally strong. In May, America added another 253,000 jobs, keeping up a string of muscular job reports that goes back over a year. The unemployment rate is 3.4%, nearly the lowest in five decades.
Some economists believe the jobs numbers are the calm before the storm. The more people have jobs, the more pressure there is on the daily prices of goods and services. That means inflation. Inflation triggers higher interest rates. Higher interest rates slow the economy. A slowing economy means layoffs. Each month experts say this string of events is just around the corner. Every month it is not.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks unemployment rates for cities and states. The data usually lags the national figure by a few weeks. The March data showed that the jobless rate was lower than a year earlier in 208 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 151 areas, and unchanged in 30 areas.
There was a considerable difference from city to city compared to the national number. In March, Decatur, AL; Huntsville, AL; and Rapid City, SD, had the lowest unemployment rates, 1.6% each. Among these, so few people are out of work that virtually everyone has a job. Coinciding that unemployment includes people between jobs, the unemployment rate in these cities is well below 1%.
Consider Decatur, which has a population of only 75,507. Only 1,206 people are without jobs. If those between jobs are subtracted, only a few hundred are out of work.
Sixty-five percent of people who live in Decatur are White. Thirty-one percent are Black. The median household income in the city is $52,539.
Also see: The 23 Most Dangerous Jobs in America
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