August 25, 2004 -- While 28 states reported employment gains in July, seven states viewed as undecided in the upcoming presidential election lost jobs, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The breakdown of employment numbers from the 16 states where President Bush and Al Gore were closest in 2000 has become increasingly highlighted as the president and John Kerry compete for precious electoral votes. Overall, the so-called "battleground" states have lost more than 300,000 jobs since Bush has been in office.

The swing states reporting losses in July were Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, according to the report released last week. The nine gaining jobs were Arkansas, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Battleground states lost a total of 57,400 jobs in July, when the economy as a whole added a very disappointing 32,000. Missouri saw the biggest drop off, shedding nearly 52,000 jobs during the month. The BLS explained that the decrease in Missouri was due to seasonal employment changes in the government sector.

Year-over-year, Florida has gained the most jobs, adding 163,200. It has also added the most jobs since Bush entered office.

Only four states have lost jobs in the last year, with Michigan leading the way with 55,100 fewer. Ohio, Massachusetts and Connecticut are also down since last July.