WASHINGTON (AP) -- Unemployment rates fell in most U.S. states last month as a growing economy encouraged employers across the country to step up hiring.
The Labor Department says unemployment rates declined in 29 states and rose in 8. Rates were unchanged in 13 states and Washington, D.C. The improvement was broader last month: rates fell in 45 states in January.
Still, job growth was more widespread than in previous months. Employers added jobs in 42 states, the most in almost a year. Ohio, Texas and New York reported the biggest job gains.
Nationwide, the economy added 227,000 net jobs in February. The unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent after five straight monthly declines.