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Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in April and 30 posted rates below the national average of 6.3%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

North Dakota, whose economy has benefited from a boom in oil and natural gas production, continued to have the nation's lowest unemployment rate at 2.6%. Rhode Island again topped all states with the highest rate, at 8.3%.

Rates ticked up in only two states — in South Dakota, from 3.7% to 3.8%, and in Alabama, from 6.7% to 6.9%.

While many states now show much improved jobless rates than they had during the recession and its immediate aftermath, only North Dakota's rate has fallen to a new historical low, according to the BLS.

Nonfarm employment increased in 39 states and the District of Columbia last month, fell in 10 states and was unchanged in Nebraska. States with the largest employment gains from March were Texas, up 64,100; California, 56,100; and Florida, 34,000.

Contributing: Barbara Hansen

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