(ECONOMYWATCH.NBCNEWS) — Unemployment rates rose in July in almost every state, including those where the presidential election fight is expected to be fiercest, according to data released on Friday by the Labor Department.

Altogether, jobless rates rose in 44 states. Rates dropped in Idaho, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia, and were unchanged in four states: California, Hawaii, Ohio and Utah. (Click here for state-by-state rates.)

As the country moves closer to November’s election day, voters’ attention is squarely focused on the economy and a national jobless rate hovering above 8 percent.

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