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Unemployment falls in 34 states

By Blake Ellis, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- More than half of all U.S. states posted lower unemployment rates last month, the government said Friday.

A total of 34 states and the District of Columbia reported jobless rate declines in April, according to a monthly report from the Labor Department. Jobless rates rose in six states in April, and 10 states reported no change.

That compares to last month's gloomy state unemployment report, showing that 24 states suffered jobless rate hikes in March, and rates only eased in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

Annually, the state unemployment landscape is still grim, but getting better, Friday's report showed. Jobless rates rose in 38 states and the District of Columbia from a year earlier. But that's down from a total of 44 states and D.C. reporting rising rates in March.

Last month, the Labor Department's latest national report showed the U.S. economy gained 290,000 jobs in April, the biggest gain in four years. But the unemployment rate crept higher, to 9.9% from 9.7% in the previous month.

Friday's report showed that a total of 27 states posted unemployment rates below the national average of 9.9% in April, while 10 states and D.C. reported higher rates.

North Dakota boasted the lowest unemployment, posting a 3.8% rate. South Dakota and Nebraska followed, with rates of 4.7% and 5%, respectively.

Michigan again suffered severe unemployment, and its 14% jobless rate was the highest in the nation. Nevada's 13.7% unemployment rate was the second highest rate and a record high for the state. To top of page

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