More than half of US states report job losses

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most U.S. states reported jobs losses in September as slowing growth has weighed on hiring nationwide in the past two months.

The Labor Department says hiring increased in just 20 states last month, the fewest since March. Twenty-seven states lost jobs and three reported no change.

Still, unemployment rates fell in 37 states and rose in just seven. Six states said their unemployment rates were unchanged.

Total U.S. hiring faltered in August and September as manufacturers struggled with the impact of the strong dollar and weak growth overseas. At the same time, U.S. consumers have spent cautiously. Growth likely slowed sharply in the July-September quarter to an annual rate of about 1.3 percent, from a 3.9 percent pace in the second quarter.