North Carolina's unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent in May, marking the fourth straight month of improvement in the measure of economic health for workers.
The state Commerce Department said Friday that the May's jobless rate fell a fraction from April's revised rate of 8.9 percent. The national rate rose from 7.5 percent in April to 7.6 percent in May.
The number of people employed in North Carolina has increased by more than 37,000 in the past year, but there are still more than 416,000 people listed as unemployed.
Since May 2012 the state has added about 56,000 nonfarm jobs, with all but 1,500 of those positions added by private employers. The biggest increase among major industries was in leisure and hospitality services, which added about 25,000 jobs.