Unemployment rates fell in 24 states in January and rose in just eight, the latest evidence that hiring is strong across the country.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that jobless rates were unchanged from December in 18 states and in Washington, D.C.
In Kansas, the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in January 2015, down from 4.7 percent in January 2014. In Missouri, unemployment was 5.5 percent in January, down from 6.4 percent a year earlier.
North Dakota had the nation’s lowest jobless rate, 2.8 percent, a sign that falling oil prices had yet to cause major layoffs in a state that has benefited from an energy boom. Mississippi and Nevada each had the highest unemployment rate, 7.1 percent.
Employers added jobs in 39 states and reduced them in 10 states and in Washington, D.C. California gained 67,300 jobs in January, Ohio added 25,100 and Michigan added 24,200. Virginia lost 10,900, Minnesota 7,900 and Louisiana 7,500.
Employment in Kansas showed a net gain of 17,300 jobs over the year, while employment in Missouri registered a net gain of 43,200 jobs.
Nationwide, employers have added 3.3 million jobs over the past year. Unemployment across the nation dropped to 5.5 percent in February from 6.7 percent a year earlier.