Unemployment rates declined in March from a year earlier in 342 of 372 metropolitan areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The rate rose in 16 areas and remained the same in 14.

Thirteen areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15%, while 17 areas registered rates of less than 5%.

El Centro, Calif., at 26.2% and Yuma, Ariz., at 23.8%, recorded the highest unemployment rates in March. Ten of the other 11 areas with jobless rates of at least 15% were located in California. Bismarck, N.D., registered the lowest unemployment rate at 3.5%, followed by Lincoln, Neb., and Midland, Texas, each with 3.7%.

The national unemployment rate in March was 8.2%.

Justin T. Hilley