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Extra12/3/2009 3:25 PM ET

15 cities top 15% unemployment

Jobs remain scarce, the government announced this week ahead of a 'jobs summit' called by the White House to consider what Washington can do to spur job creation.

By MSN Money staff and wire reports

October's unemployment rate topped 15% in 15 metro areas -- nine in California, three in Michigan and one each in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

And despite its 30% jobless rate -- the nation's worst -- the situation in El Centro, Calif., actually improved from 32.2% in September, as it did in 168 of the 372 metro areas tracked by the U.S. Department of Labor. Compared with a year ago, not a single metro area showed an improvement.

The agency released October data for cities and states Wednesday. The more detailed city and state data typically lag national data by several weeks. The November jobless rate for the entire county will be released Friday morning.

The report comes as the Obama administration holds a "jobs summit" at the White House that will gather economists, academics and corporate executives to consider how the government can spur job creation. The job situation is expected to worsen into the beginning of 2010.

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The October data offer stark evidence of the crisis. It's no surprise that jobless rates have gotten worse in all areas over the last year, but in a dozen areas, the percentage of unemployed has more than doubled. Casper, Wyo., saw its rate go from 2.5% to 7.5% in 12 months, an increase of 200%.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in October was 10.2%, up from 6.5% last year.

The areas with the biggest increases in October from the previous month were: Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa, which soared to 8% from 5.6%; Ocean City, N.J., to 10.6% from 8.5%; and Sandusky, Ohio, to 10.9% from 9.5%.

The largest improvements were in: Lawrence, Kan., where the rate fell to 4.7% from 5.4%; Ames, Iowa, to 4% from 4.5%; and Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass., to 7.9% from 8.8%.

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The area with the worst unemployment rates continues to be El Centro and its cross-border neighbor Yuma, Ariz. Bismarck, N.D., has the lowest unemployment rate. Only 12 other areas registered rates below 5%.

Seasonally adjusted claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 5,000 from last week, according to today's report from the Labor Department. But according to a Thomson Reuters survey, Wall Street economists expect these claims to increase.

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