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Unemployment fell in half of US states in May, including Pa.

Published On: Jun 21 2013 02:04:44 PM EDT

Good news for job seekers: The Lehigh Valley's unemployment rate is moving in the right direction.


 Unemployment rates fell in half of U.S. states last month, led by big drops in California, West Virginia, New York and Hawaii.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates rose in 17 states and were unchanged in eight.

In Pennsylvania, the rate dropped by one-tenth of a percent, to 7.5 percent.


“Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate hasn’t been this low since 2009 and has declined for four consecutive months,” said Julia Hearthway, Secretary of the Department of Labor & Industry. “Pennsylvania’s rate is now below the U.S. rate, which increased one-tenth of a percentage point in May to 7.6 percent.”

Employers added jobs in 33 states last month. The biggest gains were in Ohio, Texas and Michigan.

North Dakota had the nation's lowest unemployment rate at 3.2 percent.

Nevada had the highest at 9.5 percent. It was followed by Illinois and Mississippi, each at 9.1 percent.

Nationally, the economy added 175,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent.