According to numbers released Friday by the Employment Security Commission, North Carolina's unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 9.6 percent in October.
While the news is somewhat encouraging, state officials say we have a long way to go.
"While the October data reflected a slight decline in the unemployment rate, the total industry employment was flat," said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes.
North Carolina State University economist Michael Walden said recent falling unemployment rates can be explained by the number of jobless workers giving up and leaving the labor market.
Nationally, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 2,000 last week. It's a sign of continued weakness in the job market.
Meantime, the House of Representatives failed to pass a bill that would have given the unemployed three more months to file for extended jobless benefits.