August unemployment rates were lower in 311 of the 372 metropolitan areas than at the same time in 2012, but higher in 47 areas, and unchanged in 14 others, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And many auto glass companies, such as B-Rite Glass Co. in an Atlanta suburb, say business demand is increasing as unemployment rates decline.
Kathy Worden, the office manager for B-Rite Glass Co. in College Park, Ga., says business has picked up, although the small, family-owned operation has yet to make any new hires.
“Business has definitely picked up this year,” she says.
Twenty-eight metropolitan areas recorded jobless rates of at least ten percent, while 41 others had rates of less than five percent as businesses slowly get back to their feet following the devastating recession that virtually crippled the U.S. economy in recent years. Two hundred and eighty-eight metropolitan areas had over-the-year increases in non-farm payroll employment, while 72 had decreases and 12 saw no change. The national unemployment rate in August was 7.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 8.2 percent a year earlier.
Not everybody has been as fortunate, however. Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., endured the highest unemployment rates in August at 32.6 percent and 26.3 percent, respectively
“It does have an impact on business,” says a customer service representative who answered the phone at Frank & Son Windshield in Yuma, Ariz. “People aren’t coming in like they used. We need to do more ads and rebates. The people who don’t have store fronts are killing us because they can go out and search for business. The unemployment rate is not changing anytime soon. We live in a military community so the government shutdown really hurt business, too.”
Bismarck, N.D., showed the lowest unemployment rate at just 2.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Business is very strong,” says Oscar Rueb, owner of Crack Magic Windshield Repair in Bismarck, N.D. “It’s through the roof. I have about all the business I can want.”
A total of 207 metropolitan areas had August unemployment rates below the national figure of 7.3 percent, while 158 areas had rates above it and seven areas had rates equal to that of the nation.
|Highest Unemployment Rates for August 2013|
|Yuma, Ariz.||32.6 percent|
|El Centro, Calif.||26.3 percent|
El Centro, Calif., had the largest over-the-year unemployment rate decrease in August (down 5.6 percentage points). Twenty-two other areas had rate declines of at least two percentage points, and an additional 113 areas had declines between 1.0 and 1.9 points. Yuma, Ariz., had the largest over-the-year jobless rate increase (up 2.0 percentage points). No other area had an increase larger than 0.8 percentage point.
Of the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 2000 population of one million or more, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., recorded the highest unemployment rate in August at 10.4 percent. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis., and Oklahoma City, Okla., had the lowest rates among the large areas with 4.7 percent each. Forty-three of the large areas had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, five had increases and one saw no change. The largest rate decline occurred in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (down 2.2 percentage points). No large area had a jobless rate increase greater than 0.3 percentage points.
Looking at the big picture, Troy Mason, president of Techna Glass in Sandy, Utah, says no one in the auto glass business does much hiring during the winter season.
“We’ve noticed this year that labor has tightened up. It’s little bit harder to find people to hire than it has been the last few years,” he explains. “It really feels like the available workforce has shrunk a little bit. We’re not getting quite the same response rate to our help wanted ads.”
As for Safelite AutoGlass, Melina Metzger, public relations manager, says, “Safelite AutoGlass continues to grow our associate population, particularly in our customer-facing positions such as technicians and CSRs.
“Particularly, we are moving toward a more flexible schedule for technicians similar to a teacher’s staffing model where they are expected to work approximately ten months out of the year while maintaining pay and benefits all year. This will help with the seasonality of our business,” she adds.