Unemployment rates fell in more than half of U.S. states in November as employers stepped up hiring.

The Labor Department says jobless rates fell in 27 states, rose in 11, and were unchanged in 12 states. Employers added jobs in 35 states, while employment fell in 14. Montana's job total was flat last month.

The widespread improvement suggests employers in most parts of the country are confident enough to hire more. The economy generated a robust 211,000 jobs last month and the U.S. unemployment rate remained 5 percent, a 7-year low.

New Mexico had the nation's highest unemployment rate in November, at 6.8 percent, though it was unchanged from the previous month. West Virginia's unemployment rate, which had been the highest, fell to 6.5 percent from 6.9 percent