Unemployment rates were lower in 351 of the 372 metropolitan areas in November 2011 compared to a year earlier, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today.  Unemployment rates were higher in 16 metro areas, and unchanged in five.

The largest year-over-year decrease was in El Centro, California, where the unemployment rate fell by 3.7 percent.  Still, El Centro recorded the highest unemployment rate among metro areas, at 27.2 percent, followed by Yuma, Arizona, at 23.7 percent in November 2011.

The highest unemployment rates among metro areas with a population over one million residents were in Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California, both at 12.5 percent.

On the flip side, the lowest unemployment rates were in Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin.