After crashing from a five-decade best national jobless rate of 3.5% in February to a multi decade high of 14.7% in April, the figure settled at 6.7% in December. Based on the country’s rate over the last five years, that is still high. The total number of people unemployed in December was 10.73 million compared to 5.84 million in December 2019.
Unemployment rates varied significantly by city according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary for December 2020. Among the data the BLS follows each month is the jobless rate in the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of one million or more. In December, among these Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV had an unemployment rate of 10.4%. This has been attributed mostly to the collapse of tourism to gambling mecca due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lowest rate was 3.5% in both Birmingham-Hoover, AL, and Salt Lake City, UT. The unemployment rate rose in each of the 51 metros from December 2019 to December 2020.
24/7 Wall St. looked at several ways that city job situations are measured. The first is the unemployment rate most often seen by the public. The next is the size of the civilian labor force in each city. This does not include government or farm workers, or people who work for non-profits. The city with the largest figure for civilian labor force is the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro at 9,521,481. The next data point is the number of people who are unemployed. For New York, this was 797,026 in December. For all other metros we examined, we looked at each of these three figures for both December 2019 and December 2020.