Unemployment rates fell in 290 metro areas throughout the country in December from a year earlier, with the biggest drop occurring in Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., which was pummeled by the housing bust.
That region's unadjusted jobless rate fell 3.3 percentage points since December 2011 to 10%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among the 49 metro areas with a population of 1 million or more, the Inland Empire recorded the highest unemployment rate, at 10.9%. The region, includes Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario, hemorrhaged jobs when the recession occurred, with most job losses concentrated in construction.
The economic recovery, however, has been uneven.
Wednesday's report showed that unemployment rates rose in 68 metro areas, with the largest yearly increase occurring in the border metro area of Yuma, Ariz., which has the highest jobless rate of all metro areas.
That city saw its unemployment rate rise in December to 27.3% from 25.4% a year before.
El Centro, about 110 miles east of San Diego, recorded the second highest rate in December with 25.5%.
Midland, Texas, recorded the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1%.
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