WASHINGTON — Hiring picked up in six U.S. states last month, fell in three and was mostly unchanged in 41 states in August.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose in eight states, dropped in one, and was also mostly the same in 41 states.

The figures reflect the steady job gains nationwide that have fueled the eight-year long economic recovery from the Great Recession. U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs overall last month, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4 percent, still near a 16-year low.

The government said the data was collected before Hurricane Harvey plowed through Texas and Louisiana in the final week of the month and didn’t affect the figures.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.3 percent in Tennessee, the lowest on records in that state dating back to 1976. North Dakota and Colorado reported the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, at 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Several states reported strong job growth in August compared with July. Georgia added 19,800 jobs, followed by Maryland with 14,200 and Massachusetts with 10,800. Kentucky, New Mexico and New Hampshire also reported big gains. New Mexico saw the largest percentage increase, followed by New Hampshire and Maryland.

Oregon, Arkansas and Maine reported large job losses in August from the previous month.

Nineteen states now have unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 4.4 percent, including Arkansas, at 3.5 percent; Hawaii, at 2.6 percent; Idaho, at 2.9 percent, and Iowa, at 3.3 percent.

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CHRISTOPHER RUGABER
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