The BLS data show that the nation's three largest cities have unemployment rates significantly higher than the national average of 5.9 percent in June, with Los Angeles and New York at 10.6 percent and Chicago at 8.2 percent.
Together, the three cities had a total of 1,272,464 unemployed people in June, accounting for more than one in eight of the 9.5 million seeking work nationwide.
The reason for stubbornly high unemployment rates in major cities is disputed, with some blaming differing policies on minimum wage and jobless benefits, with others insisting that the different job mix in those cities is to blame.
The large cities have a high proportion of jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industry, a field that many workers have been reluctant to return to in recent times.
In recent history, the unemployment rate in the three major metros has hewn fairly close to the national average.
In January 2020, for example, just before the pandemic struck, the national unemployment rate stood at 3.5 percent. In New York it was 3.6 percent, Chicago's was 3.9 percent, and Los Angeles was at 4.2 percent.
And as recently as 2019, unemployment in New York and Chicago was in fact lower than the national average.
Job losses soared nationwide during the pandemic, but especially so in large cities, where lockdown restrictions were harshest and the hard-hit service and hospitality sector accounts for a larger proportion of jobs.
Liberal economists maintain that persistent woes for the service industry, with restaurants struggling to bounce back, accounts for high unemployment in major cities.
Yet restaurants in the three cities are desperate for workers and hiring as quickly as they can, with some in New York even cutting back hours due to staffing shortages.
A recent survey from Joblist found that a third of former hospitality workers would not consider returning to the industry even though they are in the midst of searching for a job.
However, the nation's fourth largest city, Houston, which has its own abundance of restaurants and bars, seems to be faring much better.
In May, the last month data are available, Houston had an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), compared to the 5.8 percent national average.
Conservative economists argue that disastrous policy decisions are to blame for the higher unemployment rates in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, all of which are ruled by Democratic mayors and governors.
The three cities were among the last to ease economic restrictions following the pandemic, with harsh rules that limited capacity and even shut down some businesses entirely.