Unemployment continues to be a critical site selection factor utilized to help evaluate the tightness of labor markets for employee-intensive corporate facilities such as call centers, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, shared service centers and software development centers. Many economists believe a labor market achieves full employment when the unemployment rate is 5% or less which can be very challenging on employers trying to attract and retain workers.   

Currently there are 723 of the 933 metro areas in the U.S. with unemployment below this threshold which makes it more important than ever to carefully evaluate unemployment trends. To help identify these trends, Site Selection Group conducted an unemployment analysis to identify the metro areas with that incurred the greatest decrease in unemployment over the last decade.

Key findings of the 10-year unemployment analysis

The unemployment analysis identifies several interesting findings to help understand how unemployment has changed over the last 10 years.  A summary of some of these findings is illustrated in the below infographic:

 

Asset 41-1

 

The change in unemployment conditions was surprisingly diverse across the U.S. over the last decade with 845 metro areas decreasing and 88 metro areas actually having an increase in unemployment. The metro areas at the top and bottom of the range included Valley, Alabama with a decreasein unemployment of 10.4% versus Logan, Virginia which saw their unemployment increase by 3%.  The following interactive map provides a summary of the unemployment changes across all 933 metro areas:

Interactive Unemployment Change Map (2008-2018)

 

60 metro areas with the greatest increase in unemployment

Site Selection Group identified 60 metro areas with the greatest increase in unemployment between 2008 to 2018. All 933 metro areas were divided into six tiers based on population to help identify the top 10 metro areas within each tier that may be better aligned for different types of site selection projects including call centers, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, shared service centers, software development centers and other employee intensive operations.  The following tables identify the top 10 metro areas per population tier.

Tier 1 Metro Areas with Greatest Unemployment Decrease

Population: 1,000,000 and Greater

Metro Area 10-Year Change 2008 2018
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA -4.1 8.3 4.2
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI -3.9 8.2 4.2
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI -3.7 6.9 3.2
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA -3.6 7.7 4.1
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA -3.5 6.1 2.7
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL -3.4 6.8 3.4
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA -3.4 7.1 3.7
St. Louis, MO-IL -3.1 6.5 3.4
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA -3.0 5.7 2.7
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN -3.0 5.8 2.8

Tier 2 Metro Areas with Greatest Unemployment Decrease

Population: 500,000 to 999,999

Metro Area 10-Year Change 2008 2018
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL -5.0 8.3 3.4
Modesto, CA -4.7 11.1 6.4
Stockton-Lodi, CA -4.5 10.4 5.9
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL -3.9 7.3 3.3
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL -3.4 7.1 3.7
Fresno, CA -3.2 10.6 7.4
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL -3.2 6.7 3.6
Toledo, OH -3.1 7.9 4.8
Santa Rosa, CA -3.1 5.8 2.7
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL -2.9 6.9 4.0

Tier 3 Metro Areas with Greatest Unemployment Decrease

Population: 250,000 to 499,999

Metro Area 10-Year Change 2008 2018
Flint, MI -4.9 10.1 5.1
Merced, CA -4.5 12.6 8.1
Port St. Lucie, FL -4.2 8.3 4.1
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC -3.9 7.4 3.6
Ocala, FL -3.8 8.1 4.3
Spartanburg, SC -3.7 7.2 3.4
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL -3.6 7.1 3.5
Rockford, IL -3.2 8.6 5.3
Reno, NV -3.1 6.8 3.7
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA -3.0 6.9 3.9

Tier 4 Metro Areas with Greatest Unemployment Decrease

Population: 100,000 to 249,999

Metro Area 10-Year Change 2008 2018
Elkhart-Goshen, IN -6.1 8.7 2.5
Yuba City, CA -5.2 12.2 7.0
Redding, CA -5.2 10.1 4.9
El Centro, CA -5.0 22.4 17.5
Roseburg, OR -4.7 9.9 5.2
Punta Gorda, FL -4.4 8.3 3.9
Bend-Redmond, OR -4.2 8.2 4.0
Monroe, MI -4.2 8.5 4.3
Jackson, MI -4.1 8.2 4.2
Sumter, SC -3.9 8.3 4.3

Tier 5 Metro Areas with Greatest Unemployment Decrease

Population: 50,000 to 99,999

Metro Area 10-Year Change 2008 2018
Clearlake, CA -5.6 10.7 5.1
Adrian, MI -5.5 9.7 4.2
Owosso, MI -5.1 9.6 4.5
Gaffney, SC -5.1 9.1 4.0
Greeneville, TN -4.8 9.3 4.5
Sturgis, MI -4.7 8.5 3.8
Ionia, MI -4.6 8.3 3.6
Athens, TN -4.6 8.7 4.2
Martinsville, VA -4.5 8.8 4.2
LaGrange, GA -4.5 8.1 3.6

Tier 4 Metro Areas with Greatest Unemployment Decrease

Population: 0 to 49,999

Metro Area 10-Year Change 2008 2018
Valley, AL -10.4 14.4 4.0
Bennettsville, SC -7.1 12.5 5.4
West Point, MS -6.7 12.8 6.1
Connersville, IN -6.6 11.4 4.7
Hillsdale, MI -6.0 10.2 4.1
Lewisburg, TN -5.9 9.2 3.4
Summerville, GA -5.7 9.7 4.0
Cadillac, MI -5.6 10.6 5.0
Lawrenceburg, TN -5.6 9.8 4.2
Kendallville, IN -5.5 8.5 3.0

Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics

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