IIUSA published a new data report this week, analyzing the impact of the latest American Community Survey (ACS) data on EB-5 targeted employment areas (TEA). In particular, the report discussed the new benchmark of high unemployment area qualification, the changing landscape of TEA across the country, and new opportunities of urban TEA projects in some major cities.

Accordingly, IIUSA has updated its EB-5 TEA Mapping Tool with the latest ACS 2017-2021 five-year estimates. More than 240,000 EB-5 stakeholders have utilized this popular tool to evaluate TEA qualification for due diligence during their EB-5 project selection process.

Here is a snapshot of the in-depth data analysis. The full report can be downloaded here.

National Unemployment Trends

According to the latest ACS five-year estimates, the national unemployment rate increased by 0.10% to 5.50% between 2017 and 2021. With the new employment data being published, the benchmark for a census tract or contiguous census tracts to qualify as an EB-5 high unemployment area using the ACS data has increased to 8.25%.

Alternatively, based on the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average unemployment rate is 5.35% in 2022, indicating that the threshold of qualifying as a EB-5 high unemployment area using this data source is 8.03%.

Figure 1 below compares the year-over-year national average unemployment rate trends measured by the ACS 5-year estimates and the annual LAUS data.

High Unemployment Areas Across the Country

Using the ACS 2017-2021 five-year estimates, we found that approximately 37,690 tracts (or 42.6% of the nation’s census tracts) qualify as high unemployment areas. In comparison, using the 2021 annual LAUS data with the census-share methodology, we identified that 36,747 census tracts (or 41.6% of census tracts across the nation) meet the high unemployment area criteria and qualify as a TEA.

It is important to note that selecting the “right” data source is critical for TEA determination since a census tract or contiguous census tracts that do not qualify as a high unemployment area under one data source may qualify using another set of data. Read more at the full report here.

TEA Opportunities by state & MAJOR CITY

The new unemployment data from ACS changed the distribution of high unemployment areas across the country and unveiled TEA opportunities in different communities.

Overall, the state of Mississippi continues to have the highest percentage of TEA census tracts with 42% of the state’s tracts qualifying for a high unemployment area, 10% qualifying for a rural area, and 32% qualifying for both.

The state of Vermont presents the best opportunities for rural EB-5 projects with 72% of census tracts in the state qualifying as a rural area, the highest percentage among all fifty states. On the other hand, New Mexico and Nevada offer ample opportunities for urban TEA projects with 77% and 76%, respectively, of census tracts qualifying as a high unemployment area in these two states.

For more in-depth analysis, click the button below to download the full report.

iiusa EB-5 TEA Mapping Tool

Featuring the latest unemployment data from both ACS and LAUS, IIUSA’s EB-5 TEA Mapping Tool is now updated with the ACS 2017-2021 5-year estimates.

Among many features, IIUSA’s free EB-5 TEA mapping tool empowers you to:

  • Search any location in the U.S. to check for TEA qualification;
  • Review all TEA opportunities in any given area (including a city, county, MSA, or state);
  • View whether any location qualifies as a single-tract high unemployment area, multi-tract high unemployment area, or rural area; and
  • Retrieve the latest ACS and LAUS employment statistics for any census tract.


    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop