Unemployment rates below 6 pct. in 25 US states

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in nearly all U.S. states last month, and half the states now have rates below 6 percent. The figures are a sign of widespread, if slow, improvement in the nation's job market.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 43 states in April, rose in two states and were unchanged in five.

Hiring is picking up as well. Employers added jobs in 39 states.

Many of the states with low unemployment are small, but some larger states are also seeing improvement. Texas' unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent in April from 5.5 percent in March and employers added 64,100 jobs last month, the most of any state.

Hiring wasn't the whole reason rates fell in many states: Fewer Americans also looked for work.

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