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Florida's Palm Coast has nation's biggest unemployment jump

Once more, unfortunately, a Florida metro area is a standout in a recession-oriented ranking.

Palm Coast, the Atlantic coast community just north of Daytona Beach, has tied with Muskegon-Norton Shores, Mich., as the metro area posting the largest year-to-year increase in unemployment in the country.

Both metro areas have seen unemployment rates jump 5.7 percentage points between November 2008 and November 2009, according to government data released Tuesday. (That beat out Detroit and Rockford, Ill., which each posted 5.6 percentage point jumps).

Palm Coast, with an unemployment rate of 16.8 percent, is the largest city in Flagler County, which has the highest unemployment rate among any Florida county (also 16.8 percent). A 10-year-old community, Palm Coast heavily rode the housing boom flooded by New York and New Jersey retirees and is now harshly suffering the bust.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis, a year ago only 21 of the country's 372 metro areas had an unemployment rate of at least 10 percent. As of November, 125 metro areas were in the double digits.

Staying atop the list as worst in the country was El Centro, Calif., the Mexican border town with a jobless rate of 29.2 percent. Enjoying the lowest unemployment rate nationally is Bismarck, N.D., at 3.4 percent.

Among 17 metro regions with jobless rates of at least 15 percent, 11 were in California and three in Michigan.

The Tampa Bay metro area's unemployment rate is currently 12.3 percent, outpacing Florida's rate of 11.5 percent.

Florida's Palm Coast has nation's biggest unemployment jump 01/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 2:33pm]

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