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Unemployment rates drop in 43 US states in January

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Unemployment rates fell in 43 U.S. states in January as more Americans began looking for work and most quickly found jobs.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate rose in just one state _ Iowa _ where the rate increased to 4.3 percent from 4.2 percent. That's far below the national rate of 6.6 percent that month.

Twenty-three states reported more hiring in January, while 27 said that the number of jobs fell. Harsh winter weather weighed on hiring nationwide, with employers adding just 129,000 jobs that month, below the average monthly gain of about 180,000 in the previous two years.

Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate, at 9.2 percent, while North Dakota had the lowest rate, at 2.6 percent.

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