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Washington, D.C., Dethroned as Job Leader

January 2, 2005
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November marked the first month since December 2001 that Orange County, California, had a lower unemployment rate than Washington, D.C., among America’s metropolitan areas of 1 million or more people.

Orange County is alone at the top of the employment rankings, with a November rate of 2.9 percent. It was tied with Washington in October.

According to the Orange County Register, the county’s unemployment rate may be misleading. For one, many immigrants are not showing up in the data. Also, many people may have stopped looking for jobs in the county because they don’t feel that they can find a position that pays enough to cover housing costs. Lastly, the job-growth rate, sometimes considered more important than the jobless rate, is actually quite low in Orange County. Job growth is higher in Las Vegas.

Among large cities, unemployment rates are also low in Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, New Jersey (3.3 percent); San Diego (3.4 percent); and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida (3.5 percent). The job market is weaker in Michigan and Ohio. Detroit and Cleveland are experiencing high unemployment, and unemployment is rising in Columbus, Ohio.

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