Boston Boasts the Nation’s Lowest Unemployment Rate

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Unemployment across the U.S. continues to register at historically low levels thanks to an improved job market. As of May, the nation’s unemployment rate averaged 3.4%, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that was up from 3.1% in April, it was unchanged year-over-year and marked the second consecutive month below 3.5% and the 15th consecutive month below 4%. For comparison, during the two years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic (2018-2019), unemployment registered between 3.3% and 4.5%, averaging 3.8% nationally. Prior to that period, unemployment hadn’t fallen below 3.5% since the late 1960s. Among the nation’s 50 largest markets, Boston recorded the lowest unemployment rate in May at 2.1%, followed by Baltimore and Miami, both at 2.2%. Those three markets even edged out Salt Lake City (2.4%), which prior to the pandemic, typically had the lowest unemployment rate nationally. On the flip side, Las Vegas posted the highest unemployment rate in May, at 5.6%. The next worst performer was Los Angeles, with unemployment at 4.8%. Unemployment rates in May were lower than a year ago in 20 of the nation’s largest markets, higher in 24 and unchanged in six. The most improved unemployment rates in May were seen in Boston and Cleveland, with both posting year-over-year declines of 110 basis points. The weakest performances were in San Jose and Riverside, where unemployment rose around 100 basis points over the past year.