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Oct 21, 2:56 PM EDT

Unemployment rates rose in 3 of 8 US swing states last month

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AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Unemployment rates rose in three of eight U. S. swing states last month, fell in two and were unchanged in the remaining three.

The Labor Department said Friday employers cut jobs in four swing states and added them in three, with job totals flat in New Hampshire.

The figures reflect broader trends that were evident in the national jobs report issued earlier this month: Hiring has slowed from last year's healthy pace to a still-decent level. And more Americans are searching for work, apparently encouraged by the steady job gains of the past several years. That has pushed up the unemployment rate, as not all immediately find work.

For example, Michigan added 5,400 jobs in September, though its unemployment rate rose to 4.6 percent from 4.5 percent. That's because the number of people working or looking for work increased by about 14,000 last month.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.7 percent last month from 4.6 percent in August in North Carolina, and ticked up to 4.8 percent from 4.7 percent in Ohio. The rate fell sharply to 5.8 percent from 6.3 percent in Nevada, and to 2.9 percent from 3 percent in New Hampshire.

The jobless rate was flat in September in Florida, Iowa and Pennsylvania.

Florida, Michigan and North Carolina added jobs last month, while employers cut back in Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Nevada's rate fell in part because some of the unemployed actually stopped looking for work. The government doesn't count someone out of work as unemployed unless they are actively searching.

Over a longer time horizon, the unemployment rate has fallen in the past year in five of the eight swing states: Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina. It rose in Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

All eight states added jobs in September compared with 12 months earlier.

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