Job market still shaky through December

Overall, the unemployment rate rose in 20 states, fell in 15 and was unchanged in another 15 states, which was about the same as November. 

New York led the way with 22,800 layoffs last month, followed by Minnesota with 22,400 and Florida with 17,900, according to the Labor Department report.

Texas and South Carolina reported the biggest job gains in December adding 20,000 and 9,000 positions, respectively.

Although hiring is expected to spike this year as many businesses say they will pick up hiring during the next six months, the unemployment rate is likely to hover around 9 percent for the remainder of 2011. 

Saddled by the worst housing market in the country, Nevada posted the nation's highest unemployment rate at 14.5 percent. That's up from 14.3 percent in November and was the state's highest on record, dating back to 1976. California was second at 12.5 percent, and Florida was third at 12 percent.

North Dakota's unemployment rate of 3.8 percent was the nation's lowest, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, with 4.4 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.