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Jobs Hot Spot Contrasts With Ag and Urban Stats

SEATTLE (CN) - While unemployment rose in big cities and agricultural regions, southeast Washington state led the nation in rate of job creation last year. In a sparsely populated area, 3,300 jobs were created in a surge credited to economic stimulus funds to clean up the Hanford nuclear plant.

Two counties of Benton and Franklin in southeast Washington have only 240,000 people. Its success in adding jobs contrasts deeply with rural areas of California and the employment dead zone that Detroit is becoming with a whopping 15.6% unemployement.

Behind the favorable numbers in Washington, the Department of Energy reported that 3,999 jobs at Hanford were funded or partially funded by the economic Recovery Act.

"I really do believe this is one of those communities where it has worked exactly like it was supposed to," Carl Adrian, president of the Tri-City Development Council said on television.

The average salary of a Hanford worker hired by the Recovery Act is $65,570, according to the Department of Energy. Stimulus funding for Hanford work will run out in October 2011.

But job losses continued rising in almost every other metropolitan area. The national unemployment rate rose to 10.6 percent from 8.5 percent year earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

Three areas in California registered the highest unemployment rates: El Centro, 27.3 percent; Merced, 21.7 percent and Yuba City, 20.8 percent.

Of the 49 metropolitan areas with population of more than 1 million, Detroit had the worst unemployment numbers: 15.6 percent.

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