WASHINGTONUnemployment rates fell in nearly 90 percent of large U.S. cities in March, though most of the declines likely occurred because more Americans stopped looking for work, rather than found jobs.
The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 333 of the 372 largest metro areas. They declined in 22 and were unchanged in 17.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent in March from 7.7 percent in February. Fewer people said they were unemployed, but only because they gave up on their job hunts. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively looking for work.
Still, there were signs of long-term improvement in the report. Nearly 160 metro areas had unemployment rates of 7 percent or below, up from 113 a year earlier.