February 05, 1999
In December 1998, 241 metropolitan areas reported lower unemployment rates than a year earlier. In 173 of the 328 U.S. metropolitan areas, unemployment rate declines equaled or exceeded the 0.4 percentage point decline in the national rate. Rocky Mount, North Carolina, had the largest over-the-year drop (-2.4 percentage points).
The next highest unemployment rate declines were experienced by New London-Norwich, Connecticut-Rhode Island (-1.9 points), and Decatur, Illinois (-1.8 points). Thirty-seven additional areas registered declines of 1.0 point or more.
At the end of 1998, the lowest unemployment rates among metropolitan areas were in Charlottesville, Virginia (1.1 percent), Columbia, Missouri (1.2 percent), and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Rochester, Minnesota (both 1.3 percent). Six of the eight areas with rates of 1.5 percent or less were in the Midwest.
These data are a product of the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. More information can be found in news release USDL 99-26, "Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment: December 1998." Year-to-year comparisons are based on changes in not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rates from December 1997 to December 1998.