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Unemployment rates hold steady

Regional and state unemployment rates were generally little changed in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia reported over-the-month unemployment rate increases, 16 states registered rate decreases and seven states had no rate change.

Over the year, jobless rates increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The national unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent in August, up 0.3 percentage point from July and 3.5 points from Aug. 2008.

In August, non-farm payroll employment decreased in 42 states and the District of Columbia and increased in eight states. Over the year, non-farm employment decreased in 49 states and increased in North Dakota and the District of Columbia.

In August, the West reported the highest regional jobless rate, 10.6 percent, followed by the Midwest, 10.0 percent. The Northeast recorded the lowest rate, 9.0 percent, and was the only region with a statistically significant over-the-month rate change (+0.3 percentage point). All four regions experienced significant unemployment rate increases from August 2008, the largest of which was in the West (+4.1 percentage points). (See table 1.)

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia reported jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent in August.

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