Unemployment in North Carolina last month jumped to the highest level in five years as employers failed to keep pace with worker demand for jobs.
The jobless rate soared to 6.6 percent in July from 5.9 percent in June, reaching the highest level since August 2003, according to statistics released this morning by the N.C. Employment Security Commission. The rate was almost a full percentage point higher than the national average, which was 5.7 percent in July.
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"North Carolina experienced significant growth in the labor force in July," Harry E. Payne Jr., chairman of the Employment Security Commission, said in a statement. "People believe they can find work in our state and that is why they are out there looking for jobs."
The total number of people employed in the state rose by 12,897 between June and July. But the number of people unemployed increased at more than double the pace.
All told, 302,717 workers were without jobs in July, an all-time high.