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Worst states for job hunting

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  • High unemployment rates can handicap job seekers
  • Michigan, Mississippi and South Carolina have highest rates
  • Alaska's top industry is government
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By Anthony Balderrama
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CareerBuilder

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If you've rewritten that résumé several times and sent out dozens of applications but your job search still shows no promise, you might not be the problem.

One frequently overlooked but critical factor in finding a new job is your state's unemployment rate. You can have the experience and skills of an employer's dream, but they won't do you any good if there just aren't enough jobs available.

The unemployment rate is the percentage of job seekers in the work force who are still looking for work. The higher the percentage, the more difficult it is to find a job. The national unemployment rate is 5 percent, based on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

If you're looking for a job, you should see how your state compares to the rest of the country. Here are the 10 worst states to find work ranked by their unemployment rates.

1. Michigan
Unemployment rate: 7.6 percent
Population: 10,071,822
Mean annual wage: $41,230
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (18.4 percent)***

2. Mississippi
Unemployment rate: 6.8 percent
Population: 2,918,785
Mean annual wage: $30,460
Top industry: Government (21.2 percent)

3. South Carolina
Unemployment rate: 6.6 percent
Population: 4,407,709
Mean annual wage: $33,400
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (19.4 percent)

4. Alaska
Unemployment rate: 6.5 percent
Population: 683,478
Mean annual wage: $43,920
Top industry: Government (25.9 percent)

5. California
Unemployment rate: 6.1 percent
Population: 36,553,215
Mean annual wage: $44,180
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (18.9 percent)

6. District of Columbia
Unemployment rate: 6.1 percent
Population: 588,292
Mean annual wage: $61,500
Top industry: Government (33.3 percent)

7. Ohio
Unemployment rate: 6 percent
Population: 11,466,917
Mean annual wage: $37,360
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (19.3 percent)

8. Arkansas
Unemployment rate: 5.9 percent
Population: 2,834,797
Mean annual wage: $30,870
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (20.6 percent)

9. Nevada
Unemployment rate: 5.8 percent
Population: 2,565,382
Mean annual wage: $36,000
Top industry: Leisure and hospitality (26.5 percent)

10. Kentucky
Unemployment rate: 5.7 percent
Population: 4,241,474
Mean annual wage: $33,490
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (20.4 percent)

*Unemployment rates, mean annual wages and industry percentages obtained from BLS in January 2008. Percentages based on nonfarm payrolls, seasonally adjusted.
**Population figures based on U.S. Census Bureau data.
***Top industries are those that employ the largest percentage of a state's labor force. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright CareerBuilder.com 2009. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority

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