Most States Reported Higher Joblessness in August

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Thirty-seven states plus the District of Columbia had August unemployment rates that were at least as high as July, keeping U.S. unemployment at about 9.6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in a report today. High unemployment rates in the Western states offset job gains in the Southeast.

Last month, 27 states lost jobs, while 10 states and Washington, D.C., had no rate change from July, according to the report. Overall unemployment was down slightly from the 9.7% rate in August 2009, the BLS said.

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The lack of U.S. employment progress reflects how the struggling economies in states such as California and Nevada offset job gains in parts of the Southeast. Nevada's 14.4% unemployment rate was that state's highest in at least 34 years, while California, the most populous U.S. state, had a 12.4% unemployment rate, according to the report. Alabama and Tennessee had the largest year-over-year percentage declines in unemployment.

Overall, the Western U.S. states had the highest regional unemployment rate at 10.8%, while the Northeast states' 8.8% was the lowest among U.S. regions.

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