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Unemployment falls in two-thirds of states

Washington (AP) — The unemployment rate fell in two-thirds of the nation’s states last month, the latest evidence that the strengthening economy is encouraging many employers to boost hiring.

According to a Labor Department report issued Tuesday, the unemployment rate dropped in 34 states in March. That’s the largest number of states to record a decline since June. The rate rose in seven states and was unchanged in nine and Washington, D.C.

New Mexico reported the biggest monthly drop in unemployment among all states, falling from 8.7 percent in February to 8.1 percent in March. Florida, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio posted the next biggest monthly declines.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.4 percent.

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