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State unemployment rate falls to 4.3% in August

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate declined slightly in August, the state Commerce Department said on Friday while releasing data showing more people returning to the labor force and getting hired.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 4.3% compares to a 4.4% rate in July and marks a decline for the 11th consecutive month. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate had fallen to 3.5% but soared to 13.5% in spring 2020 amid lockdowns and commerce restrictions. The national rate in August was 4.4%.

The number of people employed grew in August by 17,600 to 4.79 million as the labor force — those working or looking for work — increased by almost 11,800 to 5.01 million, the department news release said.

Other data collected through monthly worksite surveys showed seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment actually falling by 13,200 to 4.52 million, the department said. The government sector, as well as those for trade, transportation and utilities and for the leisure and hospitality industry saw the largest month-over-month percentage declines in employment.

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