Which American Cities Have the Lowest Unemployment Rates?

By Unemployment-Extension.org | December 2, 2014 at 11:20 PM |

Which states weathered the Great Recession the best? Check out these 9 cities boasting the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.

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1. Midland, Texas - 2.3%

Midland, Texas might be most notorious as the hometown of former President George W. Bush, but these days Midland is making headlines for another reason: its incredibly low unemployment rate. As of May of 2014 Midland had the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country, with a mere 2.3% of the population out of work.

The low rate can be attributed to a robust oil and gas boom, which is attracting workers to the region from across the country. Still, however, it would be erroneous to assume that it is all boom and no bust in Midland. The Texas boom has resulted in some rather uncomfortable growing pains, and it has been estimated that city will need to construct a staggering $1.6 billion worth of additional infrastructure over the course of the next decade in order to accommodate the influx of workers and burgeoning needs of an expanding population.

“While there are definite perks to an economy on fire, there are growing pains as well,” an editorial from the Midland Reporter-News. “We cannot continue on the current path. Whether we are talking about workforce issues, home-grown inflation or out-of-control housing prices, what is taking place in Midland is not healthy for an economy and many of our community’s residents."

2. Bismark, North Dakota - 2.8%

Biskmark's astonishingly low unemployment rate can be attributed to North Dakota’s vigorous oil boom, which has spurred unprecedented economic growth. Known as the Bakem Oil Boom, the flurry of economic activity in the state centers around oil extraction from the Bakem formation, which contains upwards of 3 million barrels of recoverable oil.

It’s the largest ever oil discovery in the history on the United States. Subsequently, in spite of the Great Recession, North Dakota, a state of roughly 725,000 inhabitants, has enjoyed a budget surplus of a staggering $1 billion, and boasts a GDP an impressive 29% above the national average.

As of spring of 2012 there were 217 oilrigs operating in the state. Each rig is estimated to create 125 full-time jobs, which translates into net job growth of roughly 25,000 in the state, plus an additional 10,000 jobs generated to lay piping to the rigs.

3. Lincoln, Nebraska - 2.7%

One of the biggest cities on our list, Nebraska’s capitol and second most populous city enjoys an unemployment rate of 2.7% as of September of 2014. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a major employer in the area, as is the State of Nebraska, Lincoln Public Schools, and Bryan Health.

4. Fargo, North Dakota - 3.5%

The largest city in North Dakota, Fargo is also reaping the benefit of North Dakota’s oil boom. Fargo is also home to North Dakota State University, a major employer. Stanford Health is also a major employer in the area, providing jobs to some 6,739 residents of the city. Yet in spite of Fargo’s low employment rate, it should be note that the city does trail the statewide North Dakota unemployment rate of 2.9%.

5. Sioux Falls, South Dakota - 3.9%

The largest city in South Dakota, Sioux Falls enjoys a relatively low unemployment rate thank to robust financial services, health care, and retail sectors. The state doesn’t have any kind of corporate tax, and is subsequently home to a number of financial service companies, including Great Western Bank, Western Surety Company, Total Card Inc., Capital Card Services, Midland National Life Insurance Company, Capital One, and First Premier Bank. The city is also an important regional healthcare center, home to four major hospitals.

6. Iowa City, Iowa - 4.2%

Named the second-best small metropolitan area for doing business in the United States, what Iowa City lacks in size it makes up for in economic activity. The University of Iowa and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are by far the major employers of the area, employing some 26,277 people in total.

7. Portsmouth, New Hampshire - 4.5%

A historic city characterized by classic colonial architecture and one of the most important port towns on the Atlantic seaboard, Portsmouth enjoys an unemployment rate of 4.5%. Major employers include the Hospital Cooperation of America, Liberty Mutual Insurance, the National Passport Center, and Lonza Biologics.

8. Billings, Montana - 4.9%

Home to over 165,000 people, Billings is not only the largest city in Montana it is also the center of the state’s economy, strategically situated near a variety of large coal deposits, and oil shale and natural gas reserves. Billings also serves as major retail destinations for much of Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana, with $1 out of every $7 spent in the city spent on retail, and was named the best small city in America in which to start a small business.

9. Rochester, Minnesota - 5%

Rochester is best known as the home of the Mayo Clinic, which employs some 30,000 people in the city. The nonprofit medical practice and research group draws 2 million visitors each and every year, and serves as the engine of the city’s economy.

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