North Carolina's unemployment rate jumped an astonishing 1.6 percent from December 2008 to January 2009, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Labor. The January 2009 unemployment rate for the state was 9.7 percent. Only five states--California, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Carolina--had higher unemployment rates.
North and South Carolina had the largest year over year change in unemployment, with the rate increasing 4.7 percent in each state. For North Carolina, the change represents more than a doubling of unemployment in the last year.
The report also indicates that North Carolina is losing jobs, 38,000 from December to January, and nearly 160,000 over the past year.