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State unemployment picture improves

By Charles Riley, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The state-by-state unemployment picture improved in September, with 23 states and the District of Columbia reporting lower unemployment rates, and Illinois and Mississippi slipping below the 10% point.

Unemployment rates increased in 11 states last month, according to Labor Department data released Friday. That was a sharp decline from the 27 states that reported higher unemployment rates in August. The department said 16 states had no change.

The national rate held steady for the third straight month at 9.6%.

Nevada had the highest rate for the fifth month in a row, holding steady at 14.4%. Michigan was second at 13%, followed by California at 12.4%, Florida at 11.9%, Rhode Island at 11.5% and South Carolina at 11%. Eleven states stood at 10% or over, down from 13 states in August.

Massachusetts posted the biggest drop in its jobless rate, down 0.4 percentage point to 8.4%. West Virginia reported the largest increase, up 0.4 percentage to 9.2%.

North Dakota continued to register the lowest jobless rate, 3.7%, followed by South Dakota with 4.4% and Nebraska with 4.6%. To top of page

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