Mecklenburg Countys unemployment rate in October dipped below 9 percent for the first time in nearly four years, even as the labor force grew, according to data released by the state Tuesday.
The 8.7 percent rate was also slightly lower than North Carolinas overall rate. The countys unemployment rate was down 0.4 percentage points from September and 1.7 percentage points below October 2011.
Nearly half a million people in Mecklenburg County were counted in the labor force last month. Thats up from about 460,000 in October 2011.
The last time the county had unemployment lower than 9 percent was in January 2009.
The Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill unemployment rate remained slightly higher, at 8.9 percent. That was a drop of 1.7 points from last October.
Job growth in the region was driven by 4,900 new jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities category. That was followed closely by 4,600 new workers in professional and business services, a 3.2 percent boost from the year before.
Unemployment rates declined from last October in 98 of 100 counties in North Carolina. More than one-third of the states counties have unemployment rates above 10 percent.