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Unemployment rates rise in most US states in July, even as hiring picks up

State Unemployment-1.jpg

In this July 31, 2014 photo, Quamisha Nelson, owner and operator of the Smoothie King in Jacksonville, N.C., center, works alongside Latasia White, 15, as she rings up a customer's order at the drive-thru. The government reports on state unemployment rates for July on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/The Jacksonville Daily News, John Sudbrink) (The Associated Press)

Unemployment rates rose in 30 U.S. states last month, even as employers in two-thirds of the states stepped up hiring. The trends reflect an increase in job-hunters nationwide as an improving economy has encouraged more people to seek work.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in eight states in July and were unchanged in 12. At the same time, hiring rose in 36 states, fell in 13, and was unchanged in Iowa.

The national unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2 percent in July from 6.1 percent in June, the government said earlier this month, even as employers added 209,000 jobs.

More Americans launched job searches last month but didn't find work, lifting the number of unemployed. Still, the increase suggests they're more optimistic about their prospects.

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