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US Jobless rate drops in 18 states, rises in 14

WASHINGTON — Unemployment fell in only 18 states last month, a much smaller number than in recent months and a sign that jobs remain scarce nationwide.

The Labor Department says the jobless rate rose in 14 states and stayed the same in 18. That’s a slowdown from the past three months when unemployment fell in more than 30 states.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.5 percent in July.

Still, 37 states saw job gains in July, an improvement from June and about the same as May.

There were some bright spots in the Northeast. New York and Massachusetts reported strong job gains. Massachusetts added 19,200 private-sector jobs, the largest monthly gain in more than 20 years.