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First Cut: Unemployment rates unchanged in 42 states in July, up in 2 and down in 6

Unemployment rates were unchanged in 42 states and the District of Columbia in July, the BLS said on Friday. Rates were down in 6 states and up in 2. The lowest unemployment rate was 2.1% in Vermont and the highest was 6.3% in Alaska.

The ten states with the largest share of the labor force were among those exhibiting stability, and most were not far off the national unemployment rate of 3.7%.

In the Northeast region (3.6% in July after 3.6% in June), the rate was unchanged at 4.0% for New York and up a tenth to 3.9% in Pennsylvania.

The Midwest region (unchanged at 3.7% in July) saw little change in the unemployment rates for Illinois at 4.2% in July after 4.3% in June, Michigan at 4.3% in July after 4.2% in June, and no change for Ohio at 4.0%.

The South (unchanged at 3.6%) showed similar behavior with the Florida unemployment rate down a tenth in July to 3.3%, Georgia also down a tenth at 3.6%, and no change in North Carolina at 4.2% or Texas at 3.4%.

The West (unchanged at 4.1%) included a dip of one-tenth in the California unemployment rate to 4.1%.

A majority of the ten states with the largest share of the labor force continued to see increases in payrolls, although slower activity in manufacturing — particularly the auto industry — may be behind the slight declines for Michigan and Illinois.

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