Cities with highest and lowest unemployment rates

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Cities with highest and lowest unemployment rates

By The Associated Press

Nearly 90 percent of major U.S. cities had lower unemployment rates in December than the same month a year earlier, a reflection of stronger hiring nationwide.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates fell in 329 cities last year. They rose in 37 cities and were unchanged in seven.

The national unemployment rate fell in December to 8.5 percent — the lowest level in nearly three years. Employers added 200,000 net jobs, the sixth straight month of solid hiring.

Unemployment rates rose from November to December in a majority of U.S. cities. However monthly metro area unemployment data can be volatile because they aren't adjusted for seasonal variations, such as holiday hiring.

The government will report Friday on U.S. hiring and unemployment in January.

Below are the cities with the highest and lowest rates:

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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