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NC unemployment rate holds steady

RALEIGH  (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in June at 8.8 percent.

But state Department of Commerce figures show that employers in North Carolina dropped nearly 11,000 jobs from May to June.

The state’s unemployment rate had dropped for four straight months after slow improvement in the economy.

The national unemployment rate had also remained unchanged at 7.6 percent.

The number of people employed in North Carolina has increased by more than 29,000 in the past year, but there are still nearly 417,000 listed as unemployed.

“The good news for North Carolina is that the state is slowly closing the gap with U.S. unemployment statistics,” said Josiah Baker, an associate economics professor at Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C.

“The bad news — and this is a national trend — if you look at the job growth it’s retail, leisure and hospitality. These are low-wages jobs,” he said.

The industries with the largest monthly increases were professional and business services, followed by construction and trade, transportation and utilities.

Government and education and health services were the major industries to experience decreases.

North Carolina remains stuck with the country’s fifth-highest unemployment rate behind Nevada, Illinois, Mississippi and Rhode Island.

Baker said he’s worried that not enough good-paying jobs are being created.

“My students are not going to college to work in fast food, not to work in a restaurant,” he said. “They want a professional job. A lot of jobs that are being created are low-wage jobs. Part-time job growth is still outpacing full-time job growth.”

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