Jobless Rate Fell in Most States in April

Employment conditions continued to improve in almost all states in April, as the recovery from the longest and deepest U.S. recession since World War Two putters along, Labor Department data released on Friday showed.

Only eight U.S. states had unemployment rates in the double-digits in April. That was less than half the 18 states with jobless rates of 10 percent or higher just a year before.

In almost all states, 46, the unemployment rates in April were lower than in April 2010.

Unemployment rates fell in 39 states in April from March; only three states and the District of Columbia had increases.

"This is the fourth straight month of decline in Florida's unemployment rate and the lowest rate in more than a year and a half -- very encouraging for Florida's employers and job seekers," said the state's Agency for Workforce Innovation Director Cynthia Lorenzo, in a statement.

Nevada continued to register the highest unemployment rate among, at 12.5 percent, followed by California, at 11.9 percent.

Still, Nevada this year has steadily backed off the record 14.5 percent jobless rate hit in December. It marked the biggest monthly drop in its unemployment rate in April, the Labor Department said.

In Michigan, the unemployment rate dropped 2.9 percentage points from April 2010 to 10.2 percent, the biggest over-the-year decrease.

The lowest unemployment rates continued to be held by North Dakota, at 3.3 percent, Nebraska, at 4.2 percent, and South Dakota, at 4.9 percent. The three states have consistently held the lowest spots, throughout the recession. New Hampshire also had a jobless rate of 4.9 percent in April.

Over the month, payrolls grew in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

New York gained the most jobs, 45,700, followed by Texas, 32,900, and Pennsylvania, 23,700. Michigan lost the most jobs 10,200, followed by Minnesota, 5,200, and South Carolina, 3,800.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Additional reporting by Michael Connor in Miami; Editing by Leslie Adler)