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Unemployment climbs in 21 states

By Laurie Segall, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The unemployment rate in 21 states and the District of Columbia rose last month, according to a government report out Friday, signaling the persistent joblessness that has plagued the recovery.

The Labor Department's monthly report also showed that 15 states posted lower unemployment rates in November. Unemployment remained unchanged in 14 states.

November's state unemployment levels declined slightly compared to October, when 14 states posted higher unemployment rates and 19 states and D.C. reported lower unemployment rates.

The national jobless rate edged up 0.2% to 9.8% in November, but was little changed from a year ago.

Nevada posted the highest unemployment rate for the seventh month in a row, at 14.3%, followed by Michigan and California which both posted rates of 12.4%. Nine states posted unemployment rates over 10%.

The states that saw the biggest increases in unemployment from a month ago are Georgia (10.1% now vs. 9.8% in October ), Idaho (9.4%, up from 9.1%) and Colorado (8.6%, up from 8.4%). The biggest improvements were in Michigan (12.4%, down from 12.8%) and Pennsylvania (8.6%, down from 8.8%).

Year over year, Michigan saw the biggest improvement in the jobless rate -- it fell two percentage points to 12.4%, from 14.4% last November. Alabama followed: The unemployment rate there fell to 9%, a drop of 1.9 percentage points from a year earlier. South Carolina saw the third-best improvement, with the jobless rate falling to 10.6% from 12.3% the previous November.

--An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Alabama's jobless rate. The state's jobless rate fell since last November.  To top of page

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