WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate fell in most states in June, mainly because more people gave up searching for work and were no longer counted.
Fewer states saw job increases, the latest evidence that the economic recovery is slowing.
The jobless rate declined in 39 states and Washington, D.C. last month, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That's a slight improvement from May, when 37 states saw their rates decline.
But only 21 states saw net job gains in June, the government said. That compared to 41 the previous month and is the fewest this year.
The decline in job creation reflects the layoff of thousands of temporary census workers. Those jobs inflated total payrolls in May and then reduced them in June.
Still, the report also indicated that businesses aren't hiring many new workers. Nationwide, private employers added a net gain of only 83,000 jobs last month. The national unemployment rate dropped to 9.5 percent in June from 9.7 percent the previous month, as about 650,000 people stopped looking for work.
New York's unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent from 8.3 percent the previous month. But the state lost 8,500 private-sector jobs, the second-straight decline in private employment. California's unemployment rate also declined, but the state gained just 1,300 private-sector jobs.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, saw its jobless rate fall to 7.9 percent from 8.2 percent the previous month. But the state's work force fell by 13,600, suggesting the decline was the result of people giving up job hunts. Furthermore, the state lost 1,000 private-sector jobs last month.
Nevada, battered by a housing slump and a drop in tourism, posted the nation's highest unemployment rate of 14.2 percent. That's the state's highest since records began in 1976.
In May, Nevada displaced Michigan from the top spot for the first time in more than four years. Michigan's unemployment rate fell to 13.2 percent in June, the nation's second-highest. It was followed by California with 12.3 percent and Rhode Island with 12 percent.
The report did include some bright spots. New Hampshire reported the largest drop in unemployment, to 5.9 percent from 6.4 percent. That was due in part to a net gain of 1,900 jobs.
The state added jobs in manufacturing, education and health services, and professional and business services, which includes temporary jobs.
Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina reported the largest job gains last month.
Texas added 14,000 jobs, with big gains in manufacturing, construction and professional and business services. Kentucky gained 6,200 jobs, mostly in manufacturing, construction and education and health services.
North Dakota continued to post the lowest unemployment rate, with 3.6 percent. It was followed by South Dakota at 4.5 percent and Nebraska at 4.8 percent.