The statewide data released by the Labor Department on Friday provide one of the last comprehensive looks at the health of the U.S. economy ahead of Election Day, now a little more than two weeks away. Voters will get one more update on the national unemployment rate just days before the election. But the state reports matter greatly to the Obama and Romney campaigns, which believe the public's impressions of the economy are shaped mostly by local conditions rather than national ones.In Ohio, perhaps the most crucial battleground state for both Obama and Romney, the unemployment rate ticked down last month to 7 percent from 7.2 percent, below the national average of 7.8 percent.
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