(Newsroom America) -- Unemployment rates are rising in swing states that will play a key role in deciding who will be victorious in the November presidential election, a statistic that will likely be used by Republicans to hammer President Obama over a still-stagnant economic recovery.
Figures released by the Labor Department on Friday indicated that jobless rates rose from June to July in nearly every state, including those key to Obama's reelection bid or a victory by presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
While jobless rates rose in 44 states, the department's figures showed joblessness fell in Idaho,Rhode Island and the District of Columbia, and were unchanged in four additional states.
Aside from that, political surveys show the race between Romney and Obama narrowing in at least seven of about a dozen swing states.
In those - Nevada, Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia and Iowa - unemployment either rose or remained flat. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate at 12 percent - nearly four percentage points higher than the national average of 8.3 percent.
The jobless rate has remained above 8 percent for more than 41 weeks, the longest stretch in U.S. history.
In Florida, where the Republican National Convention will be held, the rate was 8.8 percent.
Most polls show that Americans view jobs and the economy as the top issues heading into the 2012 contest.
On the campaign trail, Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have made those themes priorities.
In an endorsement of sorts, US News reported Thursday that some 400 economists - five of them Nobel prize winners - believe the Romney/Ryan economic plan is better for the country.
"We enthusiastically endorse Governor Mitt Romney's economic plan to create jobs and restore economic growth while returning America to its tradition of economic freedom," the economists said in a joint statement.
The economists said his plan "is based on proven principles: a more contained and less intrusive federal government, a greater reliance on the private sector, a broad expansion of opportunity without government favors for special interests, and respect for the rule of law including the decision-making authority of states and localities."
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