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The Willis Report

Getting the Economy Back on Track

You know the bad news when it comes to unemployment -- the jobless rate at 8.8% percent. Thirteen and a half million Americans not working. Corporate America is hiring more folks overseas than right here at home.

But it's not impossible to find a silver lining in the unemployment picture. Look no further than last month's jobless report. Fully two-thirds of this nation - or 34 states - saw unemployment rates fall, and in some cases dramatically.

That's the largest number of states to record a decline since June. So where are the jobs?

Texas added more than 37,000 jobs in March - the most of any state. Missouri and Florida also reported strong gains.

New Mexico reported the biggest monthly drop in unemployment among all the states - falling from 8.7% in February to 8.1%.

Other big monthly declines were reported in Florida, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio. And if you live in the Midwest, you have a reason to smile. The region generated more jobs in the past three months than anywhere else, mostly due to a rebound in manufacturing.

And it's the first region which has seen new weekly applications for unemployment benefits fall to pre-recession levels. As a result - the unemployment rate in the Midwest dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 8.3%. Just above the northeast's 8.2% - the best in the nation.

But alas - it's not good news everywhere. The West had the highest unemployment in March, still at 10.7%. The south is still at 9%.

Nevada again had the highest unemployment rate of any state - although it did fall from 13.6% to 13.2% last month. California is second with 12%.

But make no mistake, the bottom line is this: we may be close to a recovery in the job market though we are not there yet.

Too many people are still without jobs - and worse many aren't even looking for one anymore. As we debate a host of issues in D.C. and state capitols across the country - we can't lose sight of the goal--- putting Americans back to work, and our economy back on track.

Be sure to catch the Willis Report on the FOX Business Network every weekday from 5-6pm ET.

Gerri Willis is the host of "The Willis Report" (5PM/ET), a primetime program that covers the leading financial and political stories of the day and their impact on consumers. Click here to see more from Gerri Willis.