One of the most-improved states also happens to be America's northern-most. The jobless rate in Alaska has fallen from 8.6 percent at the end of 2009 to 7.7 percent in July, according to the new Labor Department data.
Alaska, of course, is home to Sarah Palin, the Republican politician and foe of big government. But economically, the state happens to be the largest recipient of federal aid under President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The act has poured an estimated $3,145 per capita into the state's arctic economy, according to estimates by Pro Publica, an investigative news website. That compares to a national average of $1,168 per capita.
That influx of money has played a role, boosting both direct government employment and private contracts from the government. Mining and logging employment has also risen substantially this year.