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Hiring rises at robust pace in 9 US states last month

WASHINGTON _ Employers stepped up their hiring in nine U.S. states last month and cut jobs in two amid modest improvement in the nation’s labour market.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell sharply in 18 states and were little changed in 32 states.

Florida reported the largest job gain in November, adding 29,600 jobs, followed by Indiana, which gained 13,100 jobs, and South Carolina, with 12,500.

The largest drops in unemployment rates last month occurred in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Missouri, each of which saw a decline of 0.4 per cent.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate fell to a nine-year low of 4.6 per cent last month, as employers added 178,000 jobs. But much of the drop occurred because more Americans stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.