The national unemployment rate is a closely watched monthly economic statistic. It provides a measure of the health of the labor market and is one of many statistical gauges of economic conditions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the national unemployment rate as well as unemployment rates for the 50 states and many sub-state areas. This Research Rap Special Report looks at unemployment rates at one of these sub-state levels — the metropolitan area — in the three states in the Third Federal Reserve District: Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Metropolitan area unemployment rates provide information not only about current local labor market conditions but also about the long-term features of the economies of individual metropolitan areas.

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