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New July unemployment figures show that 15 states have already reached 10% unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many economists and pundits have focused like vultures on the national jobless rate rising to 10% this year, as if crossing that threshold might signal a new level of doom. 

We're already there in 30% of the states and the District of Columbia. Double-digit unemployment is dreadful, but does it feel much different to the average jobless person who is struggling with the current national 9.4% jobless rate?

The Stand-Out States

Michigan continued to have the highest rate: 15%.  Rounding out the top five are Rhode Island (12.7%), Nevada (12.5%), California and Oregon (11.9% each). The rates in California, Nevada, and Rhode Island, set new series highs.

The West has the highest regional jobless rate, at 10.5%, followed by the Midwest, at 10.2%.

The states with the lowest unemployment rates: North Dakota (4.2%), Nebraska and South Dakota (4.9%), Utah (6%), Iowa, Oklahoma, and Wyoming (6.5% each).

Getting Off the Jobless Roll

Whatever state you live in, the job market is likely very competitive — probably worse than you have ever experienced. If you are unemployed, consider these tips:

Be flexible. Look outside your usual industry, location, or experience level. Even a part-time job is a job, and what you make of the experience can bring you closer to your next career-building job.

Commit yourself to daily action. Looking for work should be your full-time job. Set daily or weekly goals. Get dressed and put yourself in a professional mindset, and be ready for phone calls that could be initial interviews.

Network as much as possible. Recruiters believe this is the best job-hunting tool, and it works. Reach out to everyone you know, and attend workshops and relevant professional events. Also make use of professional networking sites to expand your contacts, market yourself, and learn about new opportunities.

For more, I recommend these articles:

Social Networking Basics for Job Hunters
Keywords Can Make or Break Your Resume
The Online Essentials for Your Job Search

And, just for fun, check out this blog post on "Why Unemployment (Probably) Won't Hit 10%."