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North Carolina’s unemployment rate rises to 5.8 percent

North Carolina’s unemployment rate ticked up in June from May as the employment level decreased statewide, mainly driven by a decrease in government jobs.

June’s rate statewide was 5.8 percent, up from 5.7 percent in May, the N.C. Commerce Department said Tuesday. This is the fourth consecutive month of jobless rate increases and the highest North Carolina’s rate has been since September 2014.

In a separate report, South Carolina reported a drop in unemployment rate to 6.6 percent in June from 6.8 percent in May. The national rate in June was 5.3 percent.

North Carolina lost 3,100 jobs in June from May, although private employment rose by 4,700, according to the monthly establishment survey of households. The statewide overall decline in employment was caused by the government sector, which declined by 7,800 jobs. The sector with the biggest gains was trade, transportation and utilities, which added 4,400 jobs.

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond senior economist Rick Kaglic, based in Charlotte, told reporters that sectors with the biggest declines besides government were those that tend to reflect seasonal trends, like hospitality and construction.

Overall, Kaglic said, the data in the Carolinas reflect an economy that continues to create jobs.

“Taken in conjunction with other indicators, it looks like business activity continues to increase, and that is creating this demand for labor,” Kaglic said.

Over the last year, North Carolina added 97,500 nonfarm jobs, which includes an increase of 106,000 private sector positions and a decrease of 8,500 government jobs.

Kaglic cautioned reading too far into any single month of data, especially at the state level, where the sample size is much smaller than nationally.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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