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Posted May 03, 2012 by

Unemployment Rates Fall in 342 of 372 Metros; San Francisco Best of the Best

Bureau of Labor StatisticsUnemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 342 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 16 areas, and unchanged in 14 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Thirteen areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, while 17 areas registered rates of less than 5.0 percent. Two hundred sixty-seven metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 96 reported decreases, and 9 had no change. The national unemployment rate in March was 8.4 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 9.2 percent a year earlier.

Metropolitan Area Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

In March, 54 metropolitan areas reported jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent, down from 116 areas a year earlier, while 109 areas posted rates below 7.0 percent, up from 62 areas in March of last year. El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., recorded the highest unemployment rates in March, 26.2 and 23.8 percent, respectively. Ten of the other 11 areas with jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent were located in California. Bismarck, N.D., registered the lowest unemployment rate, 3.5 percent, followed by Lincoln, Neb., and Midland, Texas, 3.7 percent each. A total of 220 areas recorded March unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 8.4 percent, 141 areas reported rates above it, and 11 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.