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MARTHA WAGGONER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 9.6 percent in July but still remains below the rate from the same time last year.

The rate increased from the 9.4 percent June figure, which had held steady for three months. The North Carolina rate remains higher than the national rate of 8.3 percent.

The state unemployment rate in July 2011 was 10.7 percent.

The state Commerce Department says the number of employed people decreased by almost 14,000 to about 4.2 million over the month but increased by about 49,000 over the past year.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled more than 64,000, increasing by almost 18,000 from June. Almost 445,000 people were unemployed in North Carolina in July.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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