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Twin Cities leads large U.S. metro areas with unemployment rate drop of 0.6%

The Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington metropolitan area was one of only two large metro areas in the country that saw its unemployment rate drop from a year ago, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released this morning.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington metropolitan area was one of only two large metro areas in the country that saw its unemployment rate drop from a year ago, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released this morning.

The metro area saw its unemployment rate drop six tenths of a percentage point from 7.4 percent in March 2009 to 6.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in March 2010. Smaller metro areas in Minnesota and straddling the border with North Dakota also saw their unemployment rates fall last month, with St. Cloud posting the largest decline, 1.2 points to 8.6 percent.

Minnesota’s jobless rate fell seven tenths of a point from March 2009 to March 2010 on a seasonally unadjusted basis, from 8.9 to 8.2 percent. The seasonally adjusted numbers for the state showed a similar decline from 8.1 to 7.4 percent. The BLS does not seasonally adjust metro area estimates. Despite the drop in the unemployment rate, the state reported a loss of 1,800 jobs from February to March, a month when 162,000 jobs were added nationwide.

Of the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 2000 population of one million or more, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., was the only other area to post a jobless rate decreases, edging down two tenths of a point to 8.6 percent unemployment.

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Detroit  and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., reported the highest unemployment rates in March among large metro areas, 15.5 and 15 percent, respectively. The large metro areas with the lowest jobless rates in March were New Orleans, 6 percent; Oklahoma City,  6.1 percent; and Washington, D.C.,-Arlington-Alexandria, Va.,  6.7 percent.