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N.C. jobless rate rose in August

Unemployment in the state jumped to 6.9 percent in August, the highest rate in more than six years.

The start of the school year likely had some influence on the August numbers. The labor force fell by 35,247 from July as students returned to school, according to data released this morning by the N.C. Employment Security Commission. The rate in July was 6.6 percent.

The total number of people employed in the state fell by 45,246, according to the statistics. That, too, was due in part to students leaving summer jobs for school.

“While some of the employment loss can be attributed to students, ... we know the decline in the national economy is having an impact on North Carolina's employment picture,” ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. said in a statement. “We are experiencing a very tight job market and we have a lot of job seekers.”

North Carolina's unemployment rate is the highest since January 2002, when it was 7 percent. It's also above the U.S. average, which was 6.1 percent in August.