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Unemployment rate falls in 74% of U.S. metros in May

Several metros in 'Farm Belt' states show employment strength

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Jobless rates fell year-over-year in 74 percent of U.S. metros in May, according to the latest figures released Wednesday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, the national unemployment rate fell to a nonseasonally-adjusted 8.7 percent last month, from 9.3 percent in May 2010. Nearly a quarter of the 372 metros covered by the BLS had rates below 7 percent.Of the 17 metros with rates below 5 percent, slightly more than half were in the Midwest's Farm Belt states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa.Lowest Metro Unemployment Rates, May 2011 Rank Metropolitan Area Rate (%)   U.S. 8.7       1 Bismarck, N.D. 2.9 2 Fargo, N.D.-Minn. 3.5 3 Lincoln, Neb. 3.7 4 Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn.  4 5 Burlington-South Burlington, Vt. 4.2 5 Iowa City, Iowa 4.2 7...