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Unemployment tops 10% in 15 states

July 17, 2009 8:03:45 AM PDT
Unemployment topped 10 percent in 15 states and the District of Columbia last month, according to federal data released Friday. The rate in Michigan surpassed 15 percent, the first time any state hit that mark since 1984.

Home to the nation's struggling auto makers, Michigan has been clobbered by lost factory jobs. Its jobless rate of 15.2 percent in June was the highest in the country, but the record-high for the state was 16.9 percent in November 1982.

Still, the Labor Department said it's the first time in 25 years that any state has suffered an unemployment rate of at least 15 percent. In 1984, it was West Virginia.

The national unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, a 26-year high, and is expected to hit 10 percent by year-end. In May, the jobless rate topped 10 percent in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

The state unemployment report underscores the damage that the longest recession since World War II has inflicted on companies, workers and communities.

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