RALEIGH – North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate decreased to 8.8 percent from April’s revised rate of 8.9 percent.  The rate in April had been North Carolina’s lowest point in more than four years.

From April to May this year, the national unemployment rate increased to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent.

North Carolina’s May 2013 rate was 0.7 of a percentage point lower than a year ago.

The number of people employed in North Carolina increased by 1,018 during the month and by 37,331 during the year.  The jobless rate declined by 2,451 during the month and 29,767 during the year.  This brings the total number of employed North Carolinians to 4,303,514 and the unemployed to 416,565.

However, North Carolina Budget and Tax Center public policy analyst, Allen Freyer previously told WCHL that the month-to-month comparison of the unemployment rate doesn’t tell the whole story of North Carolina’s current economic condition.

The total labor force, as calculated by the Department of Commerce, is the pool of prime age workers who have a job or want one. So a decrease in unemployed people does not always mean an increase in those employed.

It’s also important to note that industry employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns.  For example, of the major industries for which pay roll data are seasonally adjusted, Leisure & Hospitality Services had the largest over-the-month gain in jobs between April and May, while many other industries had an overall higher number of jobs despite a seasonal decrease.

The county unemployment rates for May 2013 are scheduled to be updated on Tuesday, July 2, 2013.