Here are the US metro areas with the best and worst job markets – and the Midwest is doing better than you think

John Schoen:

The conventional wisdom is that the jobs boom has been better for coastal areas than in Midwestern and farm states.

But a closer look at the data shows that’s not the case at all.

Of the 20 metro areas with the tightest job markets — where unemployment rates are roughly half the national average or less — only five are in coastal states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest rate in the country, at just 1.7 percent, was in Ames, Iowa. Four other metros on the list are in Iowa, and three are in Idaho.

On the other hand, eight of the metro areas on the list of the 20 highest jobless rates are in California, where the overall jobless rate is 4.2 percent, a bit higher than the national rate. Yuma, Arizona, has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 22 percent.

The economic strength in the Midwest shows up in low jobless rates in dozens of other metro areas. That strength could be at risk, though, if Trump administration tariffs begin to weigh on exports, especially farm products.