WASHINGTON - Jobless rates rose in the majority of U.S. states in August, tracking national trends, but unemployment rates fell in the Midwest and South, a government report showed on Friday.

The Labor Department said 27 states reported higher jobless rates compared with July, 16 states reported lower rates, while seven reported no change. In July, 26 states reported higher rates with 17 reporting lower rates compared with June.

The national unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent in August from 9.4 percent a month earlier and 6.2 percent a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for the Midwest fell to 9.7 percent from 10.2 percent in July, despite continued job losses in Michigan and other key states.

Jobless rates for the South fell to 9.3 percent in August from 9.4 percent in July, while in the Northeast, they rose to 8.8 percent from 8.7 percent. The West's rate was flat at 10.5 percent.

Michigan's rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 15.2 percent, while Ohio's rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 10.8 percent. Minnesota's rate fell 0.2 points to 8.0 percent while the Illinois rate fell 0.4 points to 10.0 percent.

In August, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 42 states and the District of Columbia and increased in 8 states, the Labor Department said. The biggest month-on-month drop in employment occurred in Texas (-62,200), followed by Michigan (-42,900), Georgia (-35,000), and Ohio (-30,100).

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)