Payrolls rose in 34 states in July and the jobless rate fell in 24 as the U.S. labor market continued its return to health.
California led the nation with an 80,700 increase in employment, followed by a 31,400 advance in Texas, figures from the Labor Department showed Friday in Washington.
The job market has posted steady growth this year, with payrolls clocking enough gains to keep taking in slack created by the most severe recession in the post-World War II era. Sustained improvement will probably lead to a pickup in wage growth, giving consumers the means to boost spending and help power economic growth.
Wyoming showed the biggest percentage gain in employment with a 0.9 percent increase, followed by Oklahoma and Rhode Island at 0.7 percent. States where payrolls declined included New Jersey and North Dakota.
The unemployment rate dropped the most in Connecticut and Hawaii, where it fell by 0.3 percentage point each. Oregon and Arizona showed statistically significant increases in joblessness.
Nebraska had the lowest jobless rate in the U.S. at 2.7 percent in July. West Virginia had the highest at 7.5 percent.