(USA TODAY) -- Unemployment rates fell in 41 states and the District of Columbia last month, reflecting a sharp drop in the nation's jobless rate just weeks before the presidential election.
Unemployment increased in six states and three states showed no change. The national jobless rate dropped to 7.8% from 8.1%.
INTERACTIVE: Where the jobs are
The national unemployment rate was 7.8% in September. That was down from 8.1% in August and 9% in September 2011.
The data in Friday's report will be closely analyzed for its potential impact on the presidential campaign, especially in 12 swing states that are expected to be key battlegrounds.
The 12 are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.