WASHINGTON – Unemployment rates fell last month in 21 U.S. states and were unchanged in 17, as widespread job growth and a shrinking workforce reduce the ranks of those out of work.
The Labor Department says unemployment rates rose in 12 states. Employers added jobs in 31 states and cut them in 17, with little change in the remaining two states.
The figures reflect steady hiring nationwide. Employers added 223,000 jobs in June, and the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent. Yet last month's rate decline occurred because some unemployed gave up looking for work. The jobless aren't counted as unemployed unless they are actively searching for work.
Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.6 percent, while West Virginia has the highest, at 7.4 percent.