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This Week - Data Releases for the Week Ending December 9, 2011

by Valorie Hanni Rice
Reference Librarian

Employment data released December 6th by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that a majority of metropolitan areas, 281 of the 372, had lower unemployment rates in October as compared to a year ago. There were 21 areas that had lower than 5 percent unemployment, with the two lowest rates in the nation both found in North Dakota (Bismarck at 2.4 and Fargo at 3.1 percent). Eight areas had unemployment rates in October that exceeded 15 percent, the highest rates being reported in El Centro, CA (28.9 percent) and Yuma, AZ (26.3 percent).  While Yuma had among the highest rate in the nation, the rest of the state is closer to the national rate of 8.5 percent: Flagstaff 7.3 percent, Lake Havasu City-Kingman 10.1 percent, Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale 8.1 percent, Prescott 9.5 percent, and Tucson 7.9 percent.

Initial unemployment claims reported by the Labor Department December 8th dropped to 381,000 (seasonally adjusted), which is the lowest figure since February. The four-week average also went down, measuring at 393,250.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-year estimates were released December 8th, providing detailed socio-demographic data for all areas of the U.S. for the combined years from 2006-2010.  For more information on the American Community Survey, go to

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