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NC Unemployment Rate Rises For 4th Straight Month

Ben Bradford

North Carolina’s unemployment rate once again ticked up slightly in June, the fourth straight month of rising unemployment. The rate now stands at 5.8 percent, up from May’s 5.7 percent and February’s 5.3 percent rates. It’s also 0.5 percent above the national average.

“It’s typical during the summer when you have students and other types of seasonal workers that are going to enter the workforce to look for that summer work,” says Larry Parker, spokesman for the North Carolina Division of Employment Security. “It’s not unusual to see that rate, at least during the summertime, kick up a tenth or two. In this case, we’ve got several months of that now, but it’s really due to more entrance into the state’s labor force.”

Parker says while the number of people entering the labor force have outpaced job creation recently, jobs still are increasing. That wasn’t true in June—the private sector grew, while government jobs shrank. Still, John Quinterno, principal at South by North Strategies in Chapel Hill, agrees that the state economy, overall, is trending in the right direction, with a caution.

“On the flip side, I think it’s important to know that we still are growing slowly, especially when it comes to payroll growth,” says Quinterno. “And that’s why to a large degree the progress that we’ve made at trying to undo the damage caused by the last recession has been so slow.”

Year over year, North Carolina’s unemployment rate has dipped about 0.4 percent.