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Gazett-Mail Real Estate - Articles

Monday February 24, 2014

Charleston Area Beats Nation's Jobless Rate

By Sally Deneen

Charleston's unemployment rate is low, but not so low that it makes the list of the 10 cities enjoying the nation's smallest unemployment rates.

So few people are actively looking for work in Lincoln, Neb., for example, that only 2.9 percent of area residents are deemed officially unemployed, according to Forbes, which cites federal Bureau of Labor Statistics figures as of November.

Nebraska's capital city ties with Sioux Falls, S.D., and Midland, Texas, for sixth place among cities with the lowest jobless rates. Doing slightly better are Logan, Utah, and Iowa City, Iowa, which tie for fourth place with their shared 2.8 percent unemployment rate.

So which cities actually are doing even better?

Thanks to North Dakota's oil boom, its capital, Bismarck, enjoys the nation's lowest unemployment rate at 2.3 percent – meaning only 1,300 people are actively looking for a job, according to Forbes.

With 4,000 open jobs, "our biggest challenge is finding qualified employees,” said Kelvin Hullet, head of the local Chamber of Commerce, to Forbes. A headline at pithily summed up the changes going on in the state in this way: "It's not just an oil boom, it's an industrial revolution."

Second-place Fargo, N.D., has a 2.6 percent jobless rate. Ames, Iowa – home to 33,000-student Iowa State University, as well as companies such as 3M and BASF – ranks third nationally with a 2.7 percent unemployment rate, according to Forbes. Read its rankings of cities with the worst and best unemployment rates.

The Charleston area's jobless rate came in at 4.9 percent in November, according to federal figures. That beats the nation's jobless rate of 6.7 percent as of December, which represented a general gradual improvement over the months from a 7.9 percent jobless rate as of January 2013, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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