The unemployment rate in about three-quarters of the nation's largest metro areas rose last month as nearly 1 million teenagers entered the work force looking for summer jobs.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the unemployment rate rose in 291 of 374 areas in June from May. It fell in 55 areas and was flat in 28. That reverses the trend of the previous three months, when joblessness fell in most metro areas.
But the report does not adjust the figures to take into account seasonal trends, such as high school or college students looking for work during the summer. As a result, the figures tend to be volatile from month to month.
The economic recovery has spurred some hiring, with private employers adding an average of 100,000 jobs each month this year. But the pace of hiring slowed in May and June and isn't nearly fast enough to bring down the unemployment rate.
Rate Had Been Expected to Fall
Earlier this month, the government said the nation's unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 9.5% in June from 9.7% in May. But before adjusting for seasonal factors, the rate actually rose to 9.6% from 9.3%.
The government seasonally adjusts most of its economic indicators to reflect broader economic trends.
Most of the cities with the largest increases in unemployment last month are college and university towns. Tuscaloosa, Ala., home to the University of Alabama, reported the second-largest jump in unemployment in the country, from 9% to 11.3%.
Bismarck, N.D., where Bismarck State College and several other institutions are located, had the largest proportional increase in unemployment, from 3% to 3.8%. Still, the city remained the metro area with the lowest unemployment rate in the country.
The unemployment rate in Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University, rose to 5.8% from 4.8%, the sixth-largest rise. Grand Forks, N.D.; Fargo, N.D.; Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; Columbia, Mo.; and College Station-Bryan, Texas, all have major universities and all were among the areas with the 10 largest increases in unemployment.
Worst Big-City Rate: Las Vegas's
Among cities with more than 1 million residents, Las Vegas reported the highest jobless rate, at 14.5%. That was up from 14.1% in May.
The Washington metro area, bolstered by widespread federal government hiring, reported the lowest unemployment rate among large metro areas, with 6.4%. It was followed by Oklahoma City, Okla., which has benefited from the oil and gas industry, at 6.7%.
El Centro, Calif. and Yuma, Ariz. posted the highest unemployment rates in the country, 27.6% and 26.4% respectively. The two areas have large populations of seasonal agricultural workers.
Twelve areas recorded unemployment rates of 15% or higher, the government said, with 10 of them in California.