WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers boosted hiring in 13 U.S. states in January, while employment changed little in 36 states.
The Labor Department says Alaska is the only state to show a significant decline in jobs, shedding 2,100.
Nationwide, hiring picked up in January as employers added 238,000 jobs, a clear improvement over last year's average gains. A broad rebound in the global economy and greater optimism among U.S. businesses have spurred more hiring. More positive jobs data came out last Friday, when the government reported hiring and wage gains were healthy in February, and the U.S. unemployment rate slipped to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent.
New Hampshire reported the largest jobs gain among the states on a percentage basis, with a 1 percent increase, followed by Idaho and Maine with 0.7 percent each.
New Hampshire added jobs in retail and shipping, restaurants and hotels, and construction. The healthy increase pushed the state's unemployment rate to the lowest in the nation, at 2.7 percent.
Unemployment rates fell in 5 states and were mostly stable in the other 45. The rates in Arkansas and Oregon fell to the lowest on records dating back to 1976.
Hawaii had the second-lowest rate in the U.S., with 2.8 percent, followed by Colorado and South Dakota, at 2.9 percent each.
New Mexico has the nation's highest unemployment rate, at 6.7 percent, followed by Alaska at 6.5 percent and Alabama at 6.4 percent.