CivMetrics collects key economic and labor data for MSAs in the United States. In this flash installment, we look at the newly-released metro-level unemployment data for December 2021. For questions about our data, or to request data, please contact Data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment rates fell in 375 out of 389 metro areas in December 2021, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What do the experts think?

Eugenia Larmore, PhD, MBA, President of Ekay Economic Consultants:

“December job growth was the lowest single month growth in 2021. However, the unemployment rate across all MSAs is 4.2%, which is now below natural unemployment rate estimated by the Federal Reserve of 4.4%.

This was not, contrary to some opinion, due to the decline in the labor force, as this figure grew by 1.1% for all reported MSAs between December 2020 and 2021. By comparison, employment during this period increased by 3.7%, resulting in the decline of the unemployment rate, which is the ratio of the two variables [1-(employment/labor force)].

Despite this growth in employment, the labor market remains over 3.5 million persons lower than its pre-COVID peak, due to early retirements, long-term COVID, and changes in employment preferences. While this remains a supply-side issue, we are expecting to see a negative shift in the demand for employment as the Federal Reserve begins its planned interest rate increases, though the magnitude of this shift is unknown at this early stage.”

Below, you can sort and search through all the new data.