Jobless rates rise in January in half of US states

Unemployment rates increased in half of U.S. states in January from December, as employers nationwide added the fewest jobs in seven months.The Labor Department said Monday that unemployment rates rose in 25 states. They fell in only 8 states and were unchanged in 17.Despite the increase, some long-suffering states showed improvement in January.

Florida’s unemployment rate fell below the national level for the first time in five years, further evidence that the state is recovering from a deep housing slump.

And Michigan, which has benefited from the comeback of the auto industry, added 26,500 jobs in January — the most of any state. Its unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.9 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate ticked up in January to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December. Employers added only 119,000 jobs, down from 219,000 in December.Job gains have since accelerated. Small business are leading the wave…

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