Unemployment rate drops in most metro areas in November
The majority of U.S. metropolitan areas reported lower unemployment rates in November with 351 of the 372 localities seeing a decline from a year earlier. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said unemployment rose in 16 areas and remained the same in five, according to nonseasonally adjusted figures released Wednesday. Data show 58 metropolitan areas saw jobless rates of at least 10%, down from 112 a year earlier. Another 129 areas recorded jobless rates below 7%, which is up from 65 in November 2010. El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., held the highest unemployment rates in November with 27.2% and 23.7%, and eight areas had an unemployment rate higher than 15%. But despite its troubles, El Centro also reported the largest over-the-year unemployment rate decrease of 3.7 percentage points. Bismarck, N.D., registered the lowest unemployment rate at 2.8%. Of the 49 areas with a population of more than 1 million, the highest unemployment rates in November were registered in Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., both at 12.5%. Both Las Vegas and Riverside were hammered hard in the housing crisis and are still suffering from high rates of foreclosures and stagnant home prices. Nevada holds the highest rate of foreclosures in the country, according to RealtyTrac. Nonfarm employment increased in 239 metropolitan areas in November, while 127 areas reported decreases, and six had no change from a year earlier. The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area in Texas gained the most jobs with 87,900, while Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., lost the most with 13,100. Write to Matthew Torres.