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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Unemployment rates up in most states in July

Story originally appeared on USA Today.

Unemployment rates rose in 28 states and the District of Columbia in July, reflecting weaker job prospects across the country despite a drop in the national jobless rate.

Unemployment fell in eight states and was unchanged in 14 states, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Monday.

The unemployment rate rose sharply in eight states, including Alaska and Georgia which posted the largest increases. The rate rose to 6.3% from 6.5% in Alaska, and to 8.8% from 8.5% in Georgia.

Unemployment increased two-tenths of a percentage point in several other states, including California, to 8.7%; Iowa, 4.8%; Nebraska, 4.2%; Vermont, 4.6%; and Virginia, 5.7%.

Only Mississippi had a significant drop in unemployment, to 8.5% from 9%.

Nevada continued to have the highest unemployment rate, at 9.5%, followed by Illinois, at 9.2%. North Dakota, which is benefiting from an oil boom, continued to have the lowest rate, at 3%.

States are likely feeling the delayed effects of sharp federal budget cuts and a January payroll tax increase that has dampened consumer spending. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 7.4% from 7.6% last month, but employers added a disappointing 162,000 jobs.