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Charlotte’s unemployment rate rises

Cranes are a continuing site in uptown Charlotte, NC as construction continues on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.
Cranes are a continuing site in uptown Charlotte, NC as construction continues on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

The Charlotte metro jobless rate rose in January as the area’s overall employment level fell.

The unemployment rate in the Charlotte area, which includes Concord and Gastonia, climbed to 5.1 percent in January from 4.6 percent in December, according to a report Friday from the N.C. Commerce Department. A year ago, the area’s jobless rate stood at 5.3 percent.

Net employment fell in every major metro area in the state. The Charlotte area saw the largest net decrease, with 21,800. The metro’s trade, transportation and utilities sector declined by 7,700 jobs, and the government sector fell 5,500.

Economists tend to discourage reading too far into one month of data, however, and they instead point to year-over-year data.

Over the last year, Charlotte’s net employment level has risen by 35,900, representing an annualized growth rate of 3.2 percent.

Unemployment rates rose in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties in January. Earlier this week, the N.C. Commerce Department reported that the state unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent in January from 5.2 percent in December, as North Carolina experienced an overall decline in nonfarm jobs.

Richard Kaglic, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, told the Raleigh News & Observer he anticipates a bounce back in state job numbers in February.

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