NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of U.S. metropolitan areas with jobless rates above 15% increased in December, according to government figures released Tuesday.
The Labor Department said 19 of 372 metropolitan areas surveyed posted unemployment rates of at least 15% last month, up from 17 metro areas in November. The metro area figures were not seasonally adjusted.
The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate was 10% in December, unchanged from the previous month. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect the national rate to remain steady at 10% when the Labor Department releases its December jobs report Friday.
Twelve areas in California suffered jobless rates higher than 15%, including El Centro. The city continued to lead the nation's metropolitan areas with the highest unemployment rate in December at 27.7%.
The second highest rate was in Merced, Calif., at 19.8%, a rise from 18.3% in November.
Out of the cities with populations of 1 million people or more, Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich. had the highest level of unemployment, at 14.9%, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. with a rate of 14%.
Large cities with the lowest jobless rates were Oklahoma City, with a rate of 6% and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria in the District of Columbia region, which posted a rate of 6.2%.
The metro area with the lowest unemployment rate in December was Fargo, N.D., at 4%, followed by Grand Forks, N.D., and Lincoln, Neb., each at 4.1%.
Jobless rates were higher than 10% in 138 metropolitan areas in December, up from 125 in November.
Kraft Heinz has abandoned its more than $140 billion bid for food and personal care products giant Unilever. But the company, which has Buffett as its largest investor, could still be interested in buying another big supermarket staple. More
It's still not clear whether millions of European Union migrants living in the U.K. will be permitted to stay in the country. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
Pay yourself first; donate stuff you don't need to charity and remember to claim deductions; finally, cut your recurring expenses. More