NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of U.S. metropolitan areas with jobless rates above 15% increased in November, according to government figures released Tuesday, despite the biggest one-month drop in the national rate in more than three years.
The Labor Department said 17 of 372 metropolitan areas surveyed suffered unemployment rates of at least 15% last month, up from 15 metro areas in October.
National unemployment improved to a seasonally adjusted 10% in November from the 26-year high of 10.2% hit in October. The rate had climbed for 12 out of the previous 13 months before November. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect the national rate to edge up to 10.1% when the Labor Department releases its December jobs report Friday.
Three areas in Michigan posted jobless rates higher than 15%, including Detroit. The city wrecked by the collapse of the auto industry continued to lead the nation's areas of 1 million people or more with the highest unemployment rate in November at 15.4%.
California's Inland Empire, including Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario, ranked second to Detroit among larger areas with an unemployment rate of 14.2% in November.
El Centro, Calif., held its place as the metropolitan area with the highest unemployment rate at 29.2%, down from an upwardly revised 31.9% in October.
The second highest rate was in Yuma, Ariz., at 21.1%, a drop from 23.3% in October.
Jobless rates were higher than 10% in 125 metropolitan areas in November, up from 123 in October.
Overall, 143 cities in the Labor Department report had unemployment rates above the non-seasonally adjusted national figure of 9.4%, while 229 reported jobless rates below it.
The three metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates in November were all in North Dakota, with Bismarck at 3.4%, followed by Fargo and Grand Forks at 3.7%.
Nike is opening up shop on Amazon.com and the company plans "big shifts" over the coming year. More
The Congressional Budget Office narrows its projection for when Treasury will run short on money if Congress doesn't raise or suspend the country's debt ceiling. More
Uber, the $68 billion startup, said it is "making the right investments to set ourselves up for the future." More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More