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On Friday, the Labor Department said that unemployment rates rose in 26 states — more than half of U.S. states — last month. The Labor Department also reported that unemployment fell in 12 states and was unchanged in the other 12 states.
Among the states to be affected by the rise in unemployment are seven of the 11 key swing states in this year’s presidential election. The rate in Michigan rose to 9.4 % from 9 %. The rate increased by a tenth of a point to 12.1% in Nevada, which has the highest unemployment in the nation. GOP nominee Mitt Romney campaigned in Nevada on Friday.
Unemployment was flat in three closely contested states that are rich in electoral votes: Florida, Virginia, and Ohio. The rate in Florida held steady at 8.8%. Florida was also recognized for having the second-highest job gain in the nation last month, adding 23,200 jobs. Ohio’s rate stayed at 7.2%, and unemployment in Virginia was unchanged at 5.9 %. Both rates also stayed well below the national average, as did the rates in Iowa (5.5%), New Hampshire (5.7%) and Wisconsin (7.5%). Colorado was the only swing state to see a decline in unemployment in August. The rate fell to 8.2% from 8.3% in July.
Unemployment rates also rose in five other battleground states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa. Nationwide, employers added only 96,000 jobs in August, below July’s gain of 141,000 and the average of 226,000 jobs a month added in the January-March quarter. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.1% last month from 8.3% in July, but that was due to people giving up their quest for employment. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching for jobs.
Recent polls have shown President Barack Obama with a big lead in Pennsylvania, and also ahead of Romney in Virginia and Iowa. Florida and Ohio will have a major role in determining whether or not Romney will win the election. Romney is scheduled to launch a three-day Ohio bus tour Monday and will campaign in Colorado on Sunday.
President Obama was scheduled to campaign in Virginia on Friday.