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NC unemployment rate remains flat at 6.4 percent

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's unemployment rate remained flat for June, as the number of people with full-time jobs slipped slightly from the prior month.

The state Commerce Department reported Friday that North Carolina's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in June, which was the same rate reported for May. That was above the national average, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported at 6.1 percent.

North Carolina's jobless rate for June is 1.9 percentage points lower than for the same period a year ago.

"The worst thing about the state's unemployment situation that is revealed in this report is that the labor force is not growing," said Robert Mulligan, an economics professor at Western Carolina University. "Normally, when a labor market is recovering from a recession, it recovers much, much faster than this."

The number of people with full-time jobs in June dropped by about 8,600 from May, to 4,389,167. The number of people who were unemployed also decreased about 2,100 over the month, to 299,313.

"Unfortunately, what is happening here is that the size of the labor force is falling," Mulligan said. "Basically, what that indicates is that our recovery is lagging behind the national recovery."

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm industry employment decreased 5,800 to 4,119,500 in June. The major industry with the largest over-the-month increase was professional and business services at 3,700. The sector experiencing the largest decrease was government, with a decline of 13,300 as state and local agencies shed workers due to budget cuts.

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Follow Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker at Twitter.com/mbieseck

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