WASHINGTON — Unemployment fell in 36 states last month, the US Labor Department said Tuesday, with 2012 election battleground states South Carolina, Michigan and Minnesota seeing significant drops in joblessness.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Michigan and Minnesota — key targets for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign — each saw a 0.5 percentage point drop in unemployment, while South Carolina saw a 0.4 percentage point drop.
The rates in Michigan (10.6 percent) and South Carolina (10.5 percent) were still both well above the national average.
In Minnesota, the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, below the 9.0 percent national average.
In total 36 states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, five states posted rate increases, and nine states were unchanged.
The jobless rate varied wildly across the country, with crisis-pummeled Nevada posting a jobless rate of 13.4 percent and rural North Dakota seeing unemployment of just 3.5 percent.
While there were significant improvements from October last year in two other battleground states, New Mexico and Florida, “45 states recorded unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.”