Unemployment rates by metro, per the Wall Street Journal analysis of Labor Department data.

Wall Street Journal staffer Anna Louie Sussman reports that the number of metro areas with ultralow jobless rates more than doubled in 12 months, through December, per Labor Department metro data.

Sussman's take is a glass-half-full or half-empty look at employment gains, which are offset by "pockets of pain," where unemployment rates are stubbornly stuck at over 10%. She notes that housing's inertial forces weigh on some of the jobs recovery.

Economists studying inequality have zeroed in on declining geographic mobility, noting that if people can’t move to growing areas, they are hard-pressed to improve their economic situation. But factors like housing prices, occupational licensing restrictions, and residual effects of the foreclosure crisis can keep people tied close to home.

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