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N.C. Unemployment Rate Up Slightly After Months Of Decline

Job Fair
Wake Tech Community College

The state unemployment rate is up for the first time since January. 

North Carolina's Commerce Department said this morning July's jobless rate was 8.9 percent, up from 8.8 percent the previous month.  The rate had been dropping or staying level for five straight months until now. 

Department of Commerce spokesman Larry Parker says the number of workers in the labor force was largely unchanged, but the number of people with jobs dropped by nearly 14,000.

"We had a gain of about 1,500 people that became unemployed, and that probably was the factor in the rate going up a tenth," Parker says.  He contends the net increase in jobs means North Carolina is still showing slow growth.

"But when you look at the jobs side of it - the employer survey side of it - there was a small increase in jobs.  Whether it's a small or large increase, any time you've got a gain in jobs, it's always a good thing."

The biggest loss was in the government sector with about 5,000 cuts.  But the trade, transportation and utilities industries added around the same number of jobs. The national unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in July.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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