Published: Nov 23, 2010 8:17 PM EST
Updated: Nov 23, 2010 5:17 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - Businesses and other employers added jobs in 41 states in October, the best showing in five months, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

The figures indicate the job market is picking up a bit in most parts of the country. Even the nation's hardest hit states - Nevada and Michigan - showed declines in their unemployment rates.

But the gains weren't enough to broadly reduce unemployment rates.

The Labor Department said the jobless rate fell last month in 19 states, remained the same in 17 and rose in 14. Unemployment can rise when jobs are created if more people begin searching for work.

"These numbers suggest we've stabilized and started to show real improvement," said Anthony Chan, chief economist at JPMorgan Private Wealth Management. "But we're a long way from crafting the 'Mission Accomplished' sign."

The nation's four worst-hit states all reported some positive
developments, evidence that the economic downturn is loosening its
grip.