AUGUSTA — The Maine Labor Department says the state’s unemployment rate dropped by one-tenth of a percent to 7.6 percent in August.

The department said today that 52,600 people were unemployed during the month.

York County had the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.6 percent. The state’s highest rate, 9.3 percent, was in Piscataquis County.

Maine’s unemployment rate compares favorably to the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

Unemployment rates increased in 26 states, according to the U.S. Labor Department. They fell in 12 and remained unchanged in 12.

Many employers pulled back on hiring after the economy barely grew in the first half of the year. The economy added an average of just 39,500 jobs per month from May through August, down from an average of 178,500 jobs per month in the first four months of the year.

Nevada had the nation’s highest unemployment rate among states for the 15th straight month. The rate there rose from 12.9 percent in July to 13.4 percent in August. The state has been hampered by foreclosures, a depressed construction industry and a decline in tourism.

California had the second-highest rate, at 12.1 percent, followed by Michigan, at 11.2 percent.

North Dakota had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent. That’s up from 3.3 percent in July. Booming oil, agriculture and manufacturing industries have helped the state keep the lowest unemployment rate since November 2008.

It was followed by Nebraska (4.2 percent) and South Dakota (4.7 percent).