State unemployment hits 11.1 percent


The Employment Security Commission said the state's unemployment rate increased to 11.1 percent in January. It was 10.9 percent in December and sat at 9.2 percent a year ago.

But officials did see some positives in the overall picture. There was hiring in the non-farm sector.

“North Carolina gained 8,000 jobs in January,” said ESC Chairman Lynn Holmes. “However, we must be cautious and realize that we have a long way to go to get back to pre-recession employment levels."

Holmes pointed out Congress has extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program through April 5. The ESC will begin paying Tier IV benefits on March 17 to those eligible.

While non-farm employment increased by 8,000 jobs, the construction sector lost about 5,000.

North Carolina's numbers are worse than the overall rate nationally. Federal officials announced earlier this month that January’s unemployment rate decreased 0.3 of a percentage point over the month to 9.7 percent.

County by county jobless numbers for January are expected March 19.

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