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Unemployment Pain Spreading Fast To Every State

Joblessness is rising everywhere, while states tap out their unemployment compensation funds: State unemployment rates increased across the country

Joblessness is rising everywhere, while states tap out their unemployment compensation funds:

State unemployment rates increased across the country in December, according to a Labor Department report released Tuesday that underscores how the recession has spared few industries or regions.

Joblessness was worst in the West and Midwest, indicating that the industries hit first by the recession -- housing and manufacturing -- continue to lose jobs. But Northeastern states, which have a heavy concentration of finance jobs, also saw a steep rise in unemployment, as did Southern economies, which for most of last year had been buffered by high gas and oil prices.

"The pace at which this thing has spread geographically and through industries is remarkable," said Charles W. McMillion, president and chief economist at MBG Information Services, a Washington research firm.

The widespread rise in joblessness has led to steep state budget cuts and exhausted state unemployment resources. State aid will be a part of the economic stimulus plan President Barack Obama is pushing, and some legislatures have essentially put off budget negotiations until it is more clear how much money they will get and in what form. In the bill currently making its way through Congress, some $79 billion is designated to aid states over the next two fiscal years.

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