RALEIGH – The North Carolina unemployment rate took another dive in the final month of 2013 as 6.9 percent of the workforce claimed jobless benefits, according to the Department of Commerce.

That’s half-a-percent better than November 2013 and is nearly catching up with the national average, which sat at 6.7 percent in December.

December’s rate is also 2.5-percent better than the year ago.

However, the figures release still points to an economy that is struggling to rebound. While the number of people claiming unemployment decreased by more than 124,000 individuals over the year, the number of people employed only increased by more than 13,000. From November to December 2013, the numbers were a little more even at around 20,000 each.

To see the complete data release, click here.

The county-by-county unemployment rate is scheduled to be released February 5.