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updated: 12/20/2013 11:16 AM

Unemployment rates fall in nearly all states

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Unemployment rates fell or were unchanged in all 50 U.S. states in November, evidence that hiring is improving across the country.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added jobs in 43 states and cut jobs in just seven. California, Texas and Indiana reported the largest job gains.

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The lower state unemployment rates are due in part to robust hiring nationwide over the past four months. U.S. employers added an average of 204,000 jobs from August through November, a strong pickup from earlier this year.

The national unemployment rate fell to 7 percent last month, a five-year low.

Still, the decline in state unemployment rates has occurred partly because many people have stopped looking for work. When people who are out of work stop looking for jobs, they're no longer counted as unemployed. The unemployment rate can fall as a result.

For example, North Carolina's unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in November from 8 percent in October. But some of that gain occurred because many of those out of work stopped seeking jobs. Employers in North Carolina actually cut 6,500 positions last month.

Nevada and Rhode Island reported the highest unemployment rates: 9 percent each. Nevada's fell from 9.3 percent in October as employers added 9,500 jobs. Rhode Island's declined from 9.2 percent as the state gained 1,400 jobs.

Michigan and Illinois reported the next-highest rates, at 8.8 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively.

North Dakota remained the state with the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.6 percent. South Dakota's rate of 3.6 percent was the second-lowest, followed by Nebraska at 3.7 percent.

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