State News

NC unemployment rate dips under 10 percent in February

Posted March 30, 2012 4:03 a.m. EDT
Updated March 30, 2012 10:32 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina's unemployment rate fell under double digits in February to 9.9 percent, the state Division of Employment Security reported Friday.

More than 8,000 jobs were added last month.

North Carolina's jobless rate was the fourth-highest in the country in January at 10.2 percent. But data released earlier this month also show employers added 17,000 more payroll jobs than they cut in January.

The state's jobless rate fell under 10 percent several months in 2011, but the percentages were adjusted upward after review. A year ago the unemployment rate was 10.4 percent. The national jobless rate in February was 8.3 percent.

Seasonally adjusted non-farm employment grew to 3.962 million in February, an increase of 47,000 over the past year with 44,200 of those coming in the private sector.

Most of the new jobs are in trade, transportation and utilities (11,700), the state said. Education and health services added 10,900 for the second highest total.

The number of people unemployed fell by 11,526 to 462,983.

People seeking employment and/or receiving unemployment benefits are listed among the unemployed. People who have dropped out of the work force are not counted.

North Carolina lost more than 330,000 jobs by the time the national recession bottomed out in February 2010.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte economic forecaster John Connaughton says the state has gained back about a quarter of the jobs lost in the recession.

East Carolina University's James Kleckley says the January jobless figures show the state's economy is improving but was worse than previously thought.