WASHINGTON -- The West was not the best if you were looking for work last month. That distinction belonged to the nation's heartland.
Double-digit unemployment rates in California and Nevada -- two of the states hardest hit by the housing market collapse -- once again gave the Western U.S. the highest regional unemployment rate in March, according to government data released Friday.
The region, which also includes Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington, had a 9.6% unemployment rate last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. The West has had the highest regional jobless rate since early 2008.
The Midwest unemployment rate was 7.4% in March, the fifth straight month it has had or tied for the nation's lowest rate.