State April unemployment rates were higher than a year ago in most states but fell from March 2010 levels in dozens of states, the Labor Department reported on Friday, as recession-fueled joblessness eased.

Seasonally adjusted rates topped April 2009 levels in 38 states and the District of Columbia, but rates were lower than in March in 34, with 12 states and the District of Columbia recording statistically significant improvements, according to the report. Jobless rates in 11 states topped the U.S. rate of 9.9 percent for April.

Michigan, where the unemployment rate dipped to 14 percent in April from 14.1 percent in March, continued to have the highest jobless rate among states. The state, which has been hard hit by automotive-related job losses, reported its labor force increased by 27,000 last month.

Other states with high rates were Nevada, where the jobless rate rose to 13.7 percent in April from 13.4 percent in March and California, where the rate was unchanged at 12.6 percent. For both states, their April rates were at historical highs, Labor Department statistics showed.

North Dakota's already low rate dipped to 3.8 percent in April from 4 percent in March, and South Dakota, the state with the second lowest rate, saw that rate fall to 4.7 percent last month from 4.8 percent in March.

On a regional basis, Western states reported the highest April rate at 10.9 percent, while Northeast states had the lowest at 8.9 percent, the Labor Department said.

As for April non-farm payroll employment, 18 states had statistically significant increases, while four had decreases. Ohio gained 37,300 jobs, followed by Pennsylvania with 34,000, New York with 32,700 and Texas with 32,500. States shedding the most jobs were Maine at 6,500 and Rhode Island at 4,400, the report said.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Kenneth Barry)