Plummeting oil prices have hit a dozen job markets in the country hard and fast—while leaving most of the rest of the country unscathed.
Wall Street Journal staffers Anna Louie Sussman and Andrew Van Dam report that 12 metro areas saw annual average unemployment rates tick higher in the 18 months since oil began its big slide. Those areas were largely in places where energy rules the labor market, such as Odessa, Texas, Houma-Thibodaux, La., and West Virginia coal country. Sussman and Van Dam look at Labor Department records for what happens for unemployment rates--between July 2014 and January 2016--for 387 metro areas. The takeaway:
The broader U.S. labor market has fared well in the face of cheap oil. As of January 2016, the average annual unemployment rate fell or held steady in 375 out of 387 metropolitan areas from the 12-month average ending in July 2014. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 4.9% in January, when the economy added 151,000 jobs. It held steady in February, buoyed by the addition of 242,000 jobs.