NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of U.S. metropolitan areas with jobless rates above 10% decreased in August, according to government figures released Wednesday.
The Labor Department said 129 metropolitan areas suffered unemployment rates of at least 10% last month. That was down from 139 metro areas in July.
The number of urban centers with unemployment rates above 15% fell to 16 from 19 the month before.
The national unemployment was 9.7% in August. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect the national rate to rise to 9.8% when the Labor Department releases its September jobs report Friday.
El Centro, Calif., had the highest unemployment rate of any metro area at 28.7%. But that was down from 30.5% in July.
The second highest rate was in Yuma, Ariz., where unemployment toped 26.1% in August. Both El Centro and Yuma are urban centers near agricultural areas that experience extreme heat, which impacts the workforce there, the Labor Department said.
Among the metro areas with rates above 15%, seven were in California and four were in Michigan.
The majority of the 369 metro areas in the Labor Department reported month-over-month declines in jobless rates during August, while 11 areas had increases and 2 experienced no change.
In cities with at least 1 million inhabitants, the greater Detroit area reported the highest jobless rate at 17%, but that was down from 17.7% in July. California's Inland Empire, including Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario, had the second highest rate at 14.5%.