Most battleground states post May unemployment rates below national average

Rachel Rose Hartman

The majority of the major 2012 battleground states posted May unemployment rates lower than the monthly national average of 8.2 percent, according to new totals released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (PDF), a potential benefit to President Barack Obama as he defends his economic agenda during his 2012 re-election campaign.

Of the nine major battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin), just three have monthly unemployment rates higher than the national average: Florida (8.6 percent), Nevada (11.6 percent) and North Carolina (9.4 percent).

[Related: Economic crisis made me a poorer, but better, person]

When states are examined regionally, the West and Pacific posted the highest unemployment rates, led by Nevada, a key swing state that leads the nation in unemployment with a monthly rate of 11.6 percent.

But most battleground states continue to post rates much lower than the national average, including New Hampshire and Iowa, which had 5 percent and 5.1 percent unemployment rates in May, respectively.

The May unemployment rates for battleground states are as follows:

• Colorado: 8.1 percent

• Florida: 8.6 percent

• Iowa: 5.1 percent

• Nevada: 11.6 percent

• New Hampshire: 5.0 percent

• North Carolina: 9.4 percent

• Ohio: 7.3 percent

• Virginia: 5.6 percent

• Wisconsin: 6.8 percent