Unemployment rate down in 21 states

Economic picture improves for some in April. Eleven states have no change in rate, while 18 and D.C. see jobless rate rise. Michigan still leads the nation.

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By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney.com senior writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The employment situation in the states showed signs of stabilizing last month.

The unemployment rate declined in 21 states in April, compared with the month before, while 11 states had no rate change, according to federal data released Friday.

The work situation, however, deteriorated in 18 states and Washington, D.C., last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A month earlier, unemployment rates rose in 46 states.

In April, Michigan once again led the nation with a jobless rate of 12.9%, up from 12.6% in March. Oregon, South Carolina, Rhode Island, California, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio all had rates exceeding 10%.

Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 8.9% in April, up from 8.5% a month earlier.

Missouri saw the biggest drop in unemployment, falling 0.6% to an 8.1% rate in April. Alaska followed with a 0.4% decline to 8%.

Some states, however, suffered rising rates. West Virginia fared the largest jump in joblessness, with its rate climbing 0.7% to 7.5% in April. Rhode Island and Ohio followed with 0.5% increases to 11.1% and 10.2% respectively.

State budget woes

States and their budgets have been hammered by rising unemployment rates. Income and sales tax revenues decline as people lose their jobs and rein in their spending.

Many state leaders are scrambling now to close last-minute budget gaps that opened when April tax revenues came in below estimates. The fiscal year in 46 states ends on June 30, and unlike the federal government, states cannot run deficits.

State and local officials are also working to deploy federal stimulus dollars that are starting to flow to them. The White House estimates that the funds have created or saved 150,000 jobs and will create or save another 600,000 by August. To top of page

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