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HICKORY, N.C. - Three cities just outside the Charlotte area are featured in a new study by U.S. News and World Reports about the 10 worst cities for finding a job.

The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area northwest of the Charlotte metro area was featured in the list, which was released on Friday.

Seven of the 10 metro areas were in California where the housing crisis continues to rebound.

Figures from the U.S. Conference of Mayors report suggest that many of those cities with flagging housing markets also have far to go to regain their lost jobs, the report stated. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C., for example, is projected to only recover 7.4 percent of the jobs it lost during the Great Recession by the end of 2012.

The November 2011 unemployment rate in the area was 11.7 percent.

A report released Tuesday showed the jobless rate is 9.9 percent for the entire state of North Carolina. In December of 2010 it was 9.8 percent.

The report only looked at metropolitan areas with at least 200,000 residents.

Below is the rest of the top 10:

1. Merced, CA

2. Fresno, CA

3. Modesto, CA

4. Stockton, CA

5. Visalia-Porterville, CA

6. Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J.

7. Bakersfield-Delano, CA

8. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C.

9. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

10. Brownsville-Harlingen, TX

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