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North Carolina unemployment rate falls in February for fifth straight month

North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month in February, the state Commerce Department said on Friday, as the state economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 recession.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 5.7%, compared to 5.9% in January. The state unemployment rate spiked at 13.5% last spring as Gov. Roy Cooper and governors nationwide mandated severe business restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus. The U.S. rate in February was 6.2%. In February 2020, just before the pandemic took hold nationally, the state rate was under 4%.

The number of employed workers last month rose by 4,800 compared to January, or to nearly 4.75 million, according to department data. The number of unemployed people dropped by more than 10,900 to about 286,800.

Industry categories seeing the most month-over-month employment increases were in business and professional services as well as in trade, transportation and utilities, according to department figures.

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