State News

N.C. unemployment rate dips slightly in August to 9.7%

Posted September 17, 2010 4:02 a.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2010 11:58 a.m. EDT

— Unemployment in North Carolina fell slightly in August to 9.7 percent, down from 9.8 percent in July.

The jobless rate has now fallen for five consecutive months, according to data from the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

Unemployment is at its lowest level since January 2009.

Non-farm jobs increased by 18,600 last month, the ESC reported.

The state's jobless rate stayed higher than the national figure of 9.5 percent for July. The state rate had topped the national figure since February 2008 and had been above 10 percent since January 2009.

The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that first-time applications for jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in two months.

“The August data showed improvement in job growth,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes. “Several employment sectors experienced an increase in jobs. While local education accounted for most of the job growth, there was an increase of 4,800 jobs in the private sector. We are beginning to see growth in the professional and business services and the manufacturing sectors.”

However, the ESC also noted that seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 14,743 workers. Economist consider the adjusted figure more reliable when assessing trends.

A year ago, unemployment stood at 10.9 percent.

Some 24,099 more people are working than a year ago, the ESC added.