Jobless rate drops in 22 states

In all, more than 15 states saw their jobless rate drop by more than a full percentage point last year – several of them key swing states that helped President Obama capture a second term in November.

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The rate in Ohio, perhaps the state that both Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney contested the most, dropped from 7.9 percent to 6.7 percent in 2012. 

Florida – the largest of the swing states, with 29 electoral votes – saw its rate drop almost a full two points, from 9.9 percent to 8 percent. And the rate in Nevada, which has long had the highest jobless rate in the nation, fell to 10.2 percent  in December, which capped an almost three-point drop for the year.

Nevada and Rhode Island are now tied for the highest rate in the country, at 10.2 percent, and are the only states with double-digit unemployment. Five states had at least 10 percent unemployment in December 2011. 

On the other side of the spectrum, North Dakota (3.2 percent), Nebraska (3.7 percent) and South Dakota (4.4 percent) continue to have the lowest jobless rates in the country.