Unemployment rates fall in 29 states in August amid widespread job gains; energy states hit

WASHINGTON – Unemployment rates fell in 29 states in August and held steady in 11 as hiring remained solid nationwide.

The Labor Department says rates rose in the remaining 10 states. Employers added jobs in 32 states and shed them in 18.

Job cuts continued in states with oil and gas drilling as oil prices remain sharply lower compared with a year ago. And falling demand for coal has devastated West Virginia, which has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 7.6 per cent. That is up from 7.5 per cent in July.

South Dakota, which has seen a rise in oil and gas drilling, reported the largest percentage decline in jobs. Texas shed 13,700 positions.

U.S. employers added 173,000 jobs in August, while the national unemployment rate fell to 5.1 per cent from 5.3 per cent.