Unemployment Rates Rise in Half of U.S. States

unemploymentBy CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

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 said Friday that 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.

Nationwide, 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 the January-March quarter.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent last month 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.

Unemployment increased in several competitive states in this year's presidential race.

The rate in Michigan rose to 9.4 percent from 9 percent. The rate ticked up a tenth of a point to 12.1 percent in Nevada, which has the highest unemployment in the nation. GOP nominee Mitt Romney campaigned in Nevada on Friday.

Unemployment rates also rose in five other battleground states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa.

Still, unemployment was flat in three closely contested states that are rich in electoral votes: Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

The rate in Florida held steady at 8.8 percent. Florida also recorded the second-highest job gain in the nation last month, adding 23,200 jobs.

Ohio's rate stayed at 7.2 percent, and unemployment in Virginia was unchanged at 5.9 percent. Both rates also stayed well below the national average, as did the rates in Iowa (5.5 percent), New Hampshire (5.7 percent) and Wisconsin (7.5 percent).

Colorado was the only swing state to see a decline in unemployment in August. The rate fell to 8.2 percent from 8.3 percent in July.

Recent polls have shown President Barack Obama with a big lead in Pennsylvania, and also ahead of Romney in Virginia and Iowa.

That makes Florida and Ohio critical to Romney's chances of winning the election. Romney is launching a three-day Ohio bus tour Monday and will campaign in Colorado on Sunday.

Obama was scheduled to campaign in Virginia on Friday.

__

AP Writer Steven R. Hurst contributed to this report.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

403 Comments

Filter by:
exliberal1776@yahoo.com

Yeah Barack ! Great Job Mr. Prez ! Maybe the problem is you haven't gone on "Letterman" or "The View" enough. Or perhaps a few more rounds of golf, or shooting more hoops ! Wait I got it ! It's Bush's fault !

September 26 2012 at 4:46 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

Four more years of Obama = Emperor Obama and the modern slavery called socialism.

September 25 2012 at 5:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jhrooney

More people out of work = more Obama voters,

September 25 2012 at 12:08 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gmydogbud

Well, we voted for Mr "Hope & Change" and this is the Change He Has Brought US!! We have ourselves to blame!!!

September 24 2012 at 7:09 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
gmydogbud

Well, we voted for Mr "Hope & Change" and this is the Change He Has Brought US!! We have ourselves to blame!!!

September 24 2012 at 7:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
gmydogbud

Well, we voted for Mr "Hope & Change" and this is the Change He Has Brought US!! We have ourselves to blame!!!

September 24 2012 at 7:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
wheresmyfreemoney

Obama is Whacke.

Romney / Ryan 2012

September 24 2012 at 3:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jhrooney

When you have enough people living off the goverment, you get Obama. He smiles, tells them Obama bucks are coming and they vote for him. It is easy to not have to work when the goverment pays you benefits.

September 23 2012 at 6:30 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
cherofnc

I had some things to donate Friday so drove through a low income district I normally have no reason to frequent and have not been through in several years, but it used to be fairly prosperous with Mom and Pop shops and restaurants. At least half the businesses are closed and boarded up. Not even For Lease or For Sale signs. Just given up and closed up shop. Adults milling around all over the place, just hanging out at a time they should be at work. Junk cars or people on junky bikes & mopeds. Did I see Obama signs? Ohhh yeahhh, plenty of those things. Are they fools or just slow learners? Obama has been all over my battleground state (NC) but he has NOT addressed these faithful who he knows will vote for him even if he craps on their dinner table. Sad. Reminds me of sad ol' houndogs that are neglected but are faithful to some uncaring jerk who at one time patted their heads when they were cute puppies.

September 23 2012 at 9:44 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
granaryst

If Obama is re-elected, we plan to start closing some of our stores. I'm sure we aren't the only ones. Socialism promises equal distribution for all but delivers equal poverty for all but the ruling elite.

September 22 2012 at 7:34 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply