Unemployment Dips to 4.6 percent

Statistics released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show only 19 of the nation's 372 metropolitan areas had unemployment rates lower than Northwest Arkansas in November.

The Northwest Arkansas area, which includes Benton, Madison and Washington counties in Arkansas and McDonald County, Mo., had an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, according to the bureau. Unemployment was 5.4 percent in November 2011.

The bureau reported there were 11,000 unemployed people in the four counties in November 2012.

Arkansas unemployment was 7 percent.

Among all the metropolitan areas, many of those with lower unemployment are in the farm states of Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. North Dakota and South Dakota have low unemployment due to thriving oil and natural gas industries.

In the southern U.S., only two metropolitan area had unemployment lower than the Northwest Arkansas rate of 4.6 percent. In Midland, Texas, unemployment was 3.8 percent. In Oklahoma City, it was 4.5 percent.

Areas with lower unemployment than the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area were:

Ames, Iowa: 3.8 percent

Iowa City, Iowa: 3.8 percent

Ann Arbor, Mich.:  4.3 percent

Columbia, Mo.: 4.3 percent

Mankato, Minn.: 4.2 percent

Rochester, Minn: 4.4 percent

Lincoln, Neb.: 3.4 percent

Omaha, Neb.: 4.3 percent

Portsmouth, N.H.: 4.4 percent

Bismarck, N.D.: 2.8 percent

Fargo, N.D.: 3.2 percent

Grand Forks, N.D.: 4.1 percent

Oklahoma City, Okla.: 4.5 percent

Rapid City, S.D.: 4.2 percent

Sioux Falls, S.D.: 3.7 percent

Midland, Texas: 3.8 percent

Logan, Utah: 3.8 percent

Burlington, Vermont: 3.9 percent

Morgantown, W.V.: 4.5 percent

To review the full report on unemployment in the U.S., click on this U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.