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By TOM BREEN
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina is seeing some welcome signs of job growth, but not enough to keep the state’s unemployment rate from creeping upward.

The Employment Security Commission reported Thursday that the state’s unemployment rate in January was 9.9 percent, up slightly from 9.8 percent in December. That’s higher than the national jobless rate, which stands at 9.0 percent.

The agency reported that some employers are beginning to hire and that 4,500 jobs were gained in January.

But those jobs weren’t enough to counter a persistently sluggish job market. The number of people unemployed and looking for work rose by nearly 3,400.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector of the economy added about 11,300 jobs since December, but other industries shed positions.

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

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