Unemployment down in almost all U.S. states from previous year

Lowest unemployment in North Dakoda, highest in Nevada

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Unemployment rates declined in almost all states in October from one year earlier, according to United States Labor Department data, and the rates in more than one-half the states dropped from September.

Altogether, 42 states and the District of Columbia registered decreases from one year earlier, while eight said their rates rose. From the previous month, rates dropped in 37 states and rose in seven.

In October, employers across the country added thousands of jobs to their payrolls. While the national jobless rate inched up to 7.9 per cent from 7.8 per cent in September, it was much lower than the high of 10 per cent reached toward the end of the 2007-09 recession. September's rate was the lowest in more than three years.

That healing in the jobs market has proven uneven geographically, with some states still crippled by the bursting of the housing bubble, the financial crisis and the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

In October, 21 states had jobless rates higher than the national rate, almost all in the West and the South.

Nevada continued to have the highest unemployment rate among the states, at 11.5 per cent, although it was lower than September's 11.8 per cent. Rhode Island and California followed, with rates at 10.4 per cent and 10.1 per cent.

North Dakota held the lowest rate, at 3.1 per cent, as it had throughout the recession thanks to a booming energy sector.

The labour department said non-farm payrolls rose in 35 states and the District of Columbia and shrank in 15 states. California had the largest increase, with 45,800 jobs, followed by Texas and Georgia. Michigan shed the most jobs, down 16,500.

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