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28 states see unemployment rise in June

WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- More than half the states experienced rising unemployment rates in June compared to May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.

The bureau said the unemployment rate rose in 28 states, dropped in 11 and stayed stagnant in 11 others and in the District of Columbia.

Although 28 states saw joblessness grow from May to June, 37 states and the nation's capital saw unemployment rates decline from June 2012 with seven others experiencing 12-month increases.

There were also more jobs at the end of the month in 37 states with increases of 30,200 in California, 19,100 in Pennsylvania and 17,500 in Wisconsin.

In contrast, there were 16,500 fewer jobs in Tennessee, 12,500 fewer in Ohio and 11,400 fewer in New York in June, compared to May, the bureau said.

The national unemployment rate in June was 7.6 percent, but among states, the rate ranges from 3.1 percent in North Dakota to 9.6 percent in Nevada.

The top five highest unemployment rates were in Nevada at 9.6 percent, Illinois at 9.2 percent, Mississippi at 9 percent, Rhode Island at 8.9 percent and North Carolina at 8.8 percent.

The five lowest rates were posted by North Dakota, South Dakota at 3.9 percent, Nebraska at 4 percent, Vermont at 4.4 percent and Wyoming, Hawaii and Iowa at 4.6 percent.

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Crude oil tops $108

NEW YORK, July 18 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices jumped to more than $108 per barrel Thursday in New York, boosted by gains in equity markets and a decline in U.S. inventories..

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil added $1.59 to $108.07 per barrel.

The price climbed for the second consecutive session. Prices rose Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration said crude oil supplies dropped by 6.9 million barrels in the week to 367 million barrels.

The EIA said supplies are in the upper level of the average range for this time of year as supplies dropped more than expected.

Reformulated blendstock gasoline added 1.39 cents to $3.124 per gallon. Home heating oil added 3.86 cents to reach $3.1098 per gallon. Natural gas added 17.3 cents to $3.802 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was $3.669, up from Wednesday's $3.657, the AAA Fuel Gauge report said.

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Report: IMF mulls suspending Greek aid

LUXEMBOURG, June 20 (UPI) -- The International Monetary Fund may suspend aid payments to Greece in July because of a shortfall in financing to cover Athens' debts, financial officials said.

The IMF is getting ready to suspend payments at the end of July unless eurozone leaders find a way to fill a $4 billion to $5 billion shortfall in Greece's $227 billion bailout, Britain's Financial Times reported Thursday, citing officials managing the rescue plan.

The newspaper said the shortfall resulted from eurozone central banks' refusal to roll over Greek bonds among their holdings. Some officials blamed the shortfall on economic troubles in other eurozone capitals.

One official said eurozone finance ministers will explore "alternate sources" of funding -- possibly including a new rescue this year -- the newspaper said. The ministers met Thursday evening in Luxembourg but no decision was expected until the fall on how to address the shortfall in Athens, the newspaper said.

The problem arises as Greece has begun to show signs of economic recovery, the report said.

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Consumer credit debt rises in April

WASHINGTON, June 7 (UPI) -- Consumer credit in April rebounded as U.S. consumers raised their debt by a seasonally adjusted $11.1 billion to $2.820 trillion, the Federal Reserve said.

The Fed reported a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 percent. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 1 percent, while non-revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 6.5 percent.

Non-revolving credit, which includes student and auto loans, rose to $1.970 trillion, up $10.38 billion, on a seasonally adjusted basis, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Credit-card debt rose by $682.2 million to $849.81 billion.

The Fed said seasonally unadjusted outstanding consumer credit was $2.8 billion, covering most short- and intermediate-term credit extended to individuals, excluding loans secured by real estate.

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Housing scorecard shows steady improvement by mortgage servicers

WASHINGTON, June 7 (UPI) -- The May housing scorecard said U.S. mortgage servicers showed progress in implementing the Making Home Affordable program, Obama administration officials said.

"Data continue to show important progress across many key indicators, as the annual home price increase is the highest since the housing bubble burst in mid-2006 and purchases of new and existing homes remain strong," the Treasury Department said in a release, cautioning "a full housing recovery will take more time."

"In the first quarter of 2013, homeowners' equity grew by more than $815 billion, reaching its highest level since the first quarter of 2008," Housing and Urban Development Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski said. "Despite the positive news, we have important work ahead since there are so many families and individuals still 'underwater' with mortgage balances higher than their home's value."

Since inception of the Making Home Affordable Program, the Treasury Department has required participating servicers to take specific actions to improve their processes through program reviews.

"We have kept the pressure on the mortgage industry to step up its efforts, which has helped millions of families access relief in a historic housing crisis," said Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. "Making Home Affordable provides standards and accountability for the mortgage industry that will now help additional homeowners avoid foreclosure through 2015."

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