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updated: 9/21/2012 10:59 AM

Unemployment rates rise in half of U.S. states

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Unemployment rates rose in more than half of U.S. states last month, the latest evidence that hiring remains tepid across the country.

The Labor Department says rates increased in 26 states. They fell in 12 states and were unchanged in the other 12. Unemployment also rose in seven of the 11 key swing states in this year's presidential election.

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Nationwide, hiring employers added only 96,000 jobs in August, below July's gain of 141,000 and the average of 226,000 jobs a month added in January-March quarter.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July. But that was only because many people gave up looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching for jobs.

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