Unemployment rates rose in more than half of U.S. states in July and fewer states added jobs, echoing national data that show the job market may have lost some momentum.
The Labor Department said Monday that unemployment rates increased in 28 states. They were unchanged in 14 and fell in eight states — the fewest to show a decline since January.
Hiring increased in 32 states in July compared with June, the fewest to report job gains in three months. Seventeen states reported job losses. California, Georgia and Florida reported the largest job gains, while New Jersey and Nevada lost the most.
Nationwide, hiring has been steady this year but slowed in July. Employers added 162,000 jobs, the fewest since March. The unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, a 4.5-year low, from 7.6 percent.
And while the job market has improved over the past 12 months, the gains appear to be benefiting southern and western states most of all.
Unemployment in the West fell to 7.9 percent in July. That’s down from 9.3 percent a year earlier and the biggest decline of the four regions. In the South, unemployment fell to 7.3 percent, from 7.8 percent a year ago.
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