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Steady hiring pushes down unemployment rates in half of US states

WASHINGTON – Unemployment rates fell in half of U.S. states last month, led by big drops in California, West Virginia, New York and Hawaii.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates rose in 17 states and were unchanged in eight.

Employers added jobs in 33 states last month. The biggest gains were in Ohio, Texas and Michigan.

North Dakota had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.2 per cent.

Nevada had the highest at 9.5 per cent. It was followed by Illinois and Mississippi, each at 9.1 per cent.

Nationally, the economy added 175,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 per cent.