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RALEIGH — Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in 50 of North Carolina’s counties in February, increased in 12, and remained unchanged in 38, according to figures released Wednesday by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate at 8.9 percent while Orange County had the lowest at 2.5 percent. Nine of the state’s metro areas experienced rate decreases, one increased, and five remained unchanged. Among the metro areas, Rocky Mount had the highest rate at 6.2 percent while Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest at 2.9 percent. The February not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 3.7 percent.

Southeastern North Carolina counties and their rates: Bladen 4.9, Brunswick 5.1, Columbus 5.1, Cumberland 5.5, Duplin 3.4, Pender 3.3, Robeson 6.2, Sampson 3.6.

When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates decreased in all 100 counties. All 15 of the state’s metro areas experienced rate decreases over the year.

The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) increased in February by 31,233 to 4,846,145, while those unemployed decreased by 3,385 to 185,915. Since February 2021, the number of workers employed statewide increased 222,253, while those unemployed decreased 96,602.

It is important to note that employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns; therefore, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in the not seasonally adjusted estimates.

The next unemployment update is scheduled for Thursday, April 14, 2022 when the state unemployment rate for March 2022 will be released.