(Bloomberg) -- In a nation where the unemployment rate has been hovering near decades lows for a year, fifteen small and mid-size cities in New Jersey, California and Illinois experienced a sizable increase in joblessness.

All but one of the 16 areas where the unemployment rate rose by at least 1.5 percentage points over the year were in those three states, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Wednesday. Among them are Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Rockford, Illinois, where the unemployment rate climbed by about 2 percentage points each, to 6.1% and 7.4%, respectively. 


The data show a disjointed national job market. Just under half of the country’s 389 metro areas had higher jobless rates than a year ago, and just under half had lower rates. The country’s unemployment rate is a still-low 3.8% despite ticking up slightly this year, and some states still enjoy remarkably low joblessness. 

The unemployment rate in Maryland, for example, was 1.8% last month, and all four of its metro areas were at 3% or below.

Read More: US Jobless Claims Fall to 201,000, Lowest Level Since January

Elsewhere, unemployment rates are zooming past levels from a year ago. The biggest jobless rate spike — 2.9 percentage points — was in Vineland-Bridgeton in New Jersey’s southeast. El Centro, a California metro area near the border that has experienced high joblessness for decades, came in second with a 2.7-point climb. The Golden State, which had the most areas on the list, traditionally has a more volatile jobless rate because of its border towns and reliance on agriculture in inland areas.

Some Illinois cities are seeing their highest unemployment rates since the mid-to-late 2010s, excluding the chaotic pandemic period. Danville, in east-central Illinois, had an unemployment rate of 7.1% last month, while the central Illinois city of Decatur rose to 7.2%. Kankakee, an hour south of Chicago, was just behind at 6.8%. 


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