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Polk jobless rate up again

Polk&squo;s unemployment rate, which is the highest it&squo;s been since July of 2005, rose to 4.2 percent in February. It was 4.1 percent in January and 3.7 percent in December.

The state showed a labor force in Polk County in February of 9,844 with 9,433 employed and 411 unemployed.

Polk&squo;s unemployment rate had remained below 4 percent throughout 2006 and 2007.

The county&squo;s unemployment rate is following a trend across the state. The jobless rate for North Carolina rose to 5.0 percent in February, up from 4.9 percent in January, and 4.7 percent in December.

&dquo;Our state experienced six months of increasing employment prior to February,&dquo; said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. &dquo;While we are not happy that employment dropped slightly last month, the vital signs of North Carolina&squo;s economy remain strong.&dquo;

North Carolina&squo;s unemployment rate in February topped the national jobless rate of 4.8 percent.

Orange County had the state&squo;s lowest unemployment rate at 3.6 percent in February, while Hyde County had the highest at 11.7 percent.

The jobless rate was 6.5 percent in Rutherford County and 4.2 percent in Henderson County.