By Alana Semuels Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 7, 2010, 12:22 p.m.

Many of the metropolitan areas with the highest unemployment rates in the country are in California, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday morning. Among the 10 metro areas with jobless rates of at least 15% in October, eight were located in California, the bureau said.

Those eight include El Centro (24.3%), Fresno (15.7%), Hanford-Corcoran (15%), Merced (16.3%), Modesto (16.2%), Stockton (16.3%), and Visalia-Porterville (15.9%). They are among the 138 metro areas with unemployment rates higher than the national average. Overall, 224 areas had unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 9% in October.

There are 49 metropolitan areas with 1 million or more people, and the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario areas had the highest unemployment rates of those large metro areas, 14.2%. The lowest jobless rate in those large metro areas was Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, in the District of Columbia and Virginia, at 5.8%.

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