Employment conditions in more than half of U.S. states improved in November from a year earlier, the government reported on Friday, with unemployment rates dropping in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

Compared to October, jobless rates rose in 21 states and the District of Columbia, the Labor Department said, and were unchanged in 14 states. Last month, jobless rates rose in 16 states.

Nevada continued to have the highest unemployment rate in November at 14.3 percent, followed again by California and Michigan, both at 12.4 percent.

Meanwhile, North Dakota again reported the lowest jobless rate, 3.8 percent, followed by South Dakota at 4.5 percent and Nebraska at 4.6 percent.

As the economy recovers, improvement in unemployment has varied widely from state to state, with typically half of the states faring better than others that are either still hobbled by the housing market downturn or a drop in manufacturing.

In total, the Labor Department said, 28 states posted jobless rates lower than the national rate of 9.8 percent.

In a further sign of the divide, from October to November, 28 states shed jobs, 20 states and the District of Columbia gained jobs, and two states remained at the same payroll levels.

In November, North Carolina lost the most jobs from October, 12,500, while Texas again gained the most jobs, 19,100.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)