Rural border areas still see high joblessness

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Rural towns in border regions continued to struggle in October as the rest of the country limped toward recovery, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics out Wednesday.

While 329 of the country’s 372 major metropolitan areas saw drops in their unemployment rates, high joblessness persists in Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., which had rates of 29.8% and 28.1%, respectively. Both areas, located on the border with Mexico, have had consistently high unemployment rates during the recession as people move home to be with family after they lose their jobs.

Quiz: How much do you know about California’s economy?


By contrast, the unemployment rate in Bismarck, N.D., was 2.2%. The state has experienced a booming economy and housing shortages as companies explore its plains for oil.

While unemployment plagues the smaller cities the most, big cities in the West – those with a population of 1 million and above – are still suffering as well. The Riverside-San Bernardino area and Las Vegas had the highest unemployment rates of big cities, at 11.7% and 11.1%, respectively.

Other big cities showed gains in employment over the year – the New York-White Plains metro area added 113,500 jobs while the Los Angeles area gained 57,800.

So what city should you head to if you want a job? If you’re skilled, tech-heavy cities are seeing the highest gains. The Bay Area saw an employment gain of 3.4% over the year, while Seattle, home to Microsoft and Amazon, gained 3.1% more jobs. Tacoma, Wash., came in third, adding 3% more jobs.

Just don’t forget your pocket protector.