WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in 43 U.S. states in January as more Americans began looking for work and most quickly found jobs.
The Labor Department said Monday that the unemployment rate rose in just one state — Iowa — where the rate increased to 4.3 percent from 4.2 percent. Still, that's far below the national rate of 6.6 percent that month. Rates were unchanged in six states.
The data demonstrates that the steady decline in the unemployment rate nationwide has been broad-based, occurring throughout much of the country. The overall U.S. unemployment rate has fallen 1 percentage point in the past 12 months.
Twenty-three states reported more hiring in January, while 27 said that the number of jobs fell. Harsh winter weather weighed on hiring nationwide, with employers adding just 129,000 jobs in January. That's below the average monthly gain of about 180,000 in the previous two years.
The job gains are calculated from a survey of employers, while the unemployment rate stems from a separate survey of households. The two surveys sometimes produce disparate results. In January, the household survey painted a more positive view of the nation's job market than the employer survey did.
Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate, at 9.2 percent. The state's economy has suffered from a housing bust and manufacturing slump. Illinois and Nevada had the next highest rates, both at 8.7 percent, followed by California, with 8.1 percent.
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