Jobless rate drops in 21 states

The jobless rate dropped in 21 states in March, as the U.S. economy continued its methodical recovery.

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Seventeen other states and Washington, D.C., saw their jobless rate increase, while a dozen showed no change. In all, 34 states saw their overall payrolls increase, with 16 logging a decrease.

The jobless rate stayed flat at 6.7 percent in March, as the economy added 192,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped 0.8 percent over the last year.

But the rate dropped much faster in several states where Democrats are trying to hold Senate seats in the upcoming midterm races, as the GOP pushes to end what will be an eight-year stint in the minority.

North Carolina, for instance, saw its rate fall from 8.5 percent to 6.3 percent over the last year, with 0.1 percent of that drop coming over the last month. Louisiana has also had a swift drop in the jobless rate, from 6.4 percent to 4.5 percent, over the last year.

On the other hand, Alaska has actually seen its rate tick up, from 6.4 percent to 6.6 percent, one of just a handful of states to have that happen. Arkansas’s rate fell from 7.4 percent to 6.9 percent in that same 12-month span.

North Dakota kept the lowest jobless rate in the country, at 2.6 percent. Three other states — Nebraska, South Dakota and Vermont — had rates under 4 percent.

The highest unemployment rate in the country belonged to Rhode Island, at 8.7 percent. Nevada, Illinois and California also had jobless rates above 8 percent.