Though sluggish, employment grew 1.7% between 2011 and 2012, or by 2.235 million new jobs. Job creation helped drive down the national unemployment rate from 8.9% to 8.1%. But improving conditions bring job seekers back to the job market, creating headwinds for the unemployment rate to move lower.
This is a positive and necessary step in the transition back to economic health. Regionally, markets hardest hit by the housing downturn and subsequent economic crisis are seeing some of the strongest gains, with all five of the top 5 improving markets (pictured above) located in Florida and Nevada.
Some markets are still experiencing rising unemployment rates. However, these figures belie the underlying trend of positive job creation drawing more unemployed workers back to search for jobs.
Ken Fears is the Manager of Regional Economics and Housing Finance Policy. He focuses on regional and local market trends found in the Local Market Reports and the Market Watch Reports . He also writes on developments in the mortgage industry and foreclosures.