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Unemployment rates fall in two-thirds of US states

Unemployment rates fell in two-thirds of U.S. states last month, evidence that modest economic growth is boosting hiring in most areas of the country.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates dropped in 37 states in April, the most in three months. Unemployment rose in 5 states and was unchanged in eight.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent in April. That's a full percentage point lower than last August. Employers have added 1 million jobs in the past five months, although the pace of hiring slowed in March and April.

Nevada reported the highest unemployment rate, at 11.7 percent. Rhode Island was next at 11.2 percent, followed by California at 10.9 percent.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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