Wednesday AM January 5th, 2011

US lights at nightThe Labor Department says unemployment rates rose in 258 of the 372 largest cities, fell in 88 and remained the same in 26. That's worse than the previous month, when the rate fell in 200 areas and rose in 108. Ken LeVasseur is a senior economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Well, we had slightly more areas with higher rates than with lower rates. I think it pretty much represented a picture where the labor market was flat. The national rate was actually down one-tenth over the year. So it pretty much (was) no change, very little change."

LeVasseur says Houston's unemployment rate increased from 8.1 to 8.6 in the past year, as measured in November.
    
"It's a little bit higher. It follows the pattern that we see for the state as a whole, where the state's not-seasonally-adjusted rate went from 7.9 to 8.3 over the year. This is a slightly larger increase than that, but it's consistent with a statewide movement."

Many laid-off workers are giving up. In states such as Michigan, unemployment rates are falling because more people have stopped looking for work. Once they do, the government no longer counts them as unemployed.

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