Since March of 2011, the labor market has improved dramatically. While the national unemployment rate remains high, regional markets are experiencing varying degrees of improvement. The ten markets with the strongest improvement in their unemployment rate are a varied mix. Birmingham topped the list with a 22.6% decline in the unemployment rate from 8.4% in March of 2011 to 6.5% in March of 2012. Mid-sized cities dominated the list with three coming from Michigan; Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Healthy growth of the manufacturing industry has benefited many of these markets, but resurgence in consumers’ willingness to spend on tourism has also helped markets in Florida as well as Nashville and Birmingham.
For more information on employment patterns in local housing markets, see the Local Market Reports for the 1st quarter of 2012.