20.1%: Calif. Metro Area Has Nation’s Highest Unemployment Rate

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El Centro, Calif. is one of only seven U.S. metropolitan areas that had an unemployment rate of at least 10.0 percent in April (excluding Puerto Rico). (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – El Centro, California bills itself as one of Southern California’s “most promising new commercial and industrial regions.” But it had a 20.1 percent unemployment rate in April, by far the highest of the 387 U.S. metropolitan areas surveyed by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That 20.1 percent unemployment rate is more than four times the national unemployment rate of 5.0 percent (seasonally adjusted).

The only other metropolitan area to come close to El Centro’s jobless rate was Yuma, Arizona, where the unemployment rate was 18.7 in April.  El Centro and Yuma, both near the Mexican border, are located in contiguous counties.

Notably, El Centro was one of only seven U.S. metropolitan areas that had an unemployment rate of at least 10.0 percent in April (excluding Puerto Rico). But five of those seven areas were in California, including Merced (11.2 percent), Visalia-Porterville (10.8 percent), Bakersfield (10.6 percent) and Hanford-corcoran (10 percent).

Although El Centro leads the nation in unemployment, BLS noted that the trend is improving: The city also scored the largest year-to-year drop in unemployment in April, with a 4-point decline from April 2015, when the rate stood at 24.1 percent.

On the other end of the scale, Ames, Iowa had the lowest April unemployment rate of the 387 metropolitan areas at 2.0 percent. Ames was among 25 areas that had jobless rates below 3 percent in April. (None of them were in California.)

Unemployment rates were lower in April than a year earlier in 269 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 94 areas, and unchanged in 24 areas, BLS reported.

The national unemployment rate in April was 4.7 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 5.1 percent a year earlier.

As CNSNews.com reported on Wednesday, a new Gallup poll says Americans want the economy to be the top priority for the next president.