WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell below 7 percent in a majority of U.S. cities in November, suggesting steady job gains are benefiting most parts of the country.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that rates fell in November from October in 215 of the 372 largest metro areas. Rates were unchanged in 33 and rose in 124.
Rates dropped below 7 percent in 192 cities. That's the first time since the recession ended that more than half of large cities had rates below that threshold. And 52 had rates below 5 percent.
Major metropolitan areas with low unemployment rates in November included: Oklahoma City, 4.5 percent; New Orleans, 4.7 percent; Washington, 5 percent; Boston, 5.6 percent; and Phoenix, 6.5 percent.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.8 percent in November from 7.9 percent the previous month. That occurred mostly because more Americans out of work gave up looking for jobs and were not counted as unemployed.
Employers added jobs in nearly three-quarters of metro areas in November compared with the same month a year ago. The job gains are compiled from a survey of company payrolls, while the unemployment rates come from a second survey of households.
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