The Labor Department has just released June data for what it calls "metropolitan area employment" — the U.S. jobs picture broken down by city, basically. The news for California's cities is decidedly mixed: some very, very good, but some very, very bad.
First the good: the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region has added 88,400 jobs since June 2011. This is second only to the New York/New Jersey area, with 116,000 jobs added.
Now the bad: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario topped the list of large metro areas in terms of unemployment rate, at 12.6 in June. And of all metro areas, regardless of size, El Centro continues to struggle with unemployment on an epic scale: 28.2 percent.
Of the 372 metro areas that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) covers, 328 saw their unemployment rates decline year-over-year in June. California and its cities participated in that trend. But the challenge moving forward is that, relative to the rest of the country, our cities fell into a deeper unemployment hole during the Great Recession. So even as we add jobs at a nice pace, we have farther to go before we see real light at the end of the tunnel.