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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate is climbing as fewer people are working.

The Employment Security Commission reported Monday that North Carolina’s unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent in December from 9.7 percent in November. That’s higher than the national jobless rate of 9.4 percent in

The agency also reported the number of people employed in North Carolina fell by 2,100 in December. The construction industry dropped nearly 4,000 jobs in the month after adjusting for seasonal differences.

The number of people unemployed and looking for work rose by nearly 4,400.

The number of people drawing paychecks and the number of unemployed had been moving in positive directions since this time last year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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