Unemployment rates rose in 25 states last month, driven higher in many cases by more people who began looking for work but didn’t immediately find jobs.
Rates fell in nine states and Washington, D.C., and were unchanged in 16 states, the Labor Department said Friday.
Despite the uptick in unemployment rates, employers are hiring at a robust pace, boosting job growth in most parts of the country. Thirty-seven states added jobs last month, while 12 states cut jobs. Hiring in Montana was flat.
The state figures echo last month’s national pattern. Employers added 280,000 jobs, yet the unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent. That can happen when more Americans start job hunts but aren’t immediately hired. The government doesn’t count people as unemployed unless they are actively searching for work.
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Many states, including South Carolina, gained jobs but saw their unemployment rates rise as their ranks of job searchers also increased. California added the most jobs last month, gaining 54,200. Yet its unemployment rate was up to 6.4 percent from 6.3 percent. That’s because more than 70,000 people started looking for work last month and about 13,000 didn’t find jobs.