Washington • Unemployment rates fell in most states in February and two-thirds of the states reported job gains, evidence that most of the country is benefiting from slow but steady improvement in the job market.
Unemployment rates dropped in 29 states, rose in 10 and were unchanged in the remaining 11, the Labor Department said Friday. Meanwhile, hiring rose in 33 states and fell in 17.
The rate declines occurred even though unemployment rose nationwide last month, to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent in January. That increase occurred partly for a good reason: more Americans began looking for work, though most weren't immediately hired. But the fact that they started looking suggests they were optimistic about their prospects.