Unemployment drops in three-quarters of US states

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Unemployment rates fell in three-quarters of U.S. states last month, a sign that many parts of the country are experiencing modest job gains.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 36 states in October and rose in only 5. Rates were unchanged in 9 states. That’s the best showing since April, when rates fell in 39 states.

Nationally, the unemployment rate ticked down to 9 percent in October, from 9.1 percent the previous month. Employers added a modest 80,000 net jobs last month and the previous two months were revised to show much stronger gains.

Still, at least 125,000 jobs a month are needed to keep up with population growth, and at least double that amount to rapidly reduce the unemployment rate.