By Reade Pickert
The unemployment rate fell in most states in January, including in 10 where the jobless rates fell to record lows.
Nebraska and Utah had the lowest unemployment rates in January at 2.2%, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Monday. Those two states, along with Indiana, Kansas, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma and West Virginia, saw their unemployment rates fall to their lowest levels in data back to 1976. Nearly every one of those states is led by a Republican governor.
The data underscores the tightness of the U.S. labor market across the country, with most states adding jobs during the month. Even so, the recovery remains uneven. The highest unemployment rates were in Washington D.C., New Mexico, California, Alaska and Pennsylvania — those, along with 21 other states, had jobless rates higher than the 4% national figure in January.
The state data follows the country-wide jobs report, which earlier this month showed that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.8% in February and payrolls climbed more than expected. Job openings remain near a record high.
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