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.