Published: Jan 04, 2011 7:33 PM EST
Updated: Jan 04, 2011 4:33 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - Unemployment rates rose in more than two-thirds of the nation's largest metro areas in November, a sharp reversal from the previous month and the most since June.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates rose in 258 of the 372 largest cities, fell in 88 and remained the same in 26. That's worse than the previous month, when the rate fell in 200 areas and rose in 108.

The economy is strengthening, but employers have been reluctant to create jobs. Hiring will pick up in 2011, but not enough to significantly lower the unemployment rate, economists forecast.

Many laid-off workers are giving up. In states such as Michigan, unemployment rates are falling because more people have stopped looking for work. Once they do, the government no longer counts them as unemployed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)