Nov. 2, 2004--While over two-thirds of all states reported employment gains in September, those gains were all but wiped out by the comparatively large job losses reported in other states, including several key swing states that could be critical in determining the outcome of Tuesday's presidential election.

Thirty-six states recorded job increases in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the thirteen states that shed jobs lost enough to leave a net nationwide gain of only 30,500 total jobs -- two hundredths of one percent of all jobs --from August to September.

Of the sixteen states that were most closely contested in the 2000 election, nine saw job gains in September: Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia. But the six that lost jobs -- Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, and Wisconsin -- lost them in greater numbers, dropping the net nationwide gain to only 500 total jobs in those swing states. One swing state -- Tennessee -- saw no net gain or loss in jobs in September.

Overall, Kansas led the nation with 12,400 jobs created in September. Michigan, a battleground state, posted the largest loss, shedding 14,800 jobs since August.

Among the swing-state gainers, Missouri led the way with 10,400 jobs added in September, followed by Nevada with 6,700, and Ohio with 5,500. After Michigan, Florida posted the next largest loss in a swing state, losing 9,500 jobs, followed by Wisconsin, which lost 7,000 jobs.

Combined, these battleground states have lost over 300,000 jobs since President Bush took office in 2000, making jobs a key issue during the 2004 presidential campaign and leading many to believe that employment could play a decisive role in the outcome of today's election.