(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - Unemployment rates rose in 18 U.S. states in May, the most in nine months. Increasing unemployment in more than a third of U.S. states is the latest evidence of a weaker job market.
The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in only 14 states. That's fewer than the previous month, when rates fell in 37 states. Rates were unchanged in 18 states.
Nationally, the rate rose to 8.2 percent in May from 8.1 percent in April, the first increase in almost a year. Employers added only 69,000 jobs, the fewest in 12 months.
Still, 27 states added jobs in May. California gained the most, adding 33,900. Ohio was next with 19,600. North Carolina reported the biggest loss, shedding 16,500 jobs. It was followed by Pennsylvania, which lost nearly 10,000.
Across the nation, sluggish hiring is causing more Americans to, the Labor Department said Thursday. Weekly unemployment benefit applications rose 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, an increase from an upwardly revised 380,000 the previous week.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the third straight week to 382,000. That's the highest in six weeks. Weekly applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they drop below 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.