The Labor Department says the jobless rate dropped in 346 areas last month. It rose in only 12 and remained flat in 14.
That's much better than March, when unemployment fell in 257 areas and rose in 89.
Much of the improvement was seen in Midwestern regions with significant manufacturing operations. Manufacturers are benefiting from increasing overseas sales and efforts by retailers and other U.S. companies to restock their warehouses.
The nation's economy generated a net gain of 290,000 jobs in April. But that wasn't enough to hold down the unemployment rate, which rose to 9.9 percent.