RALEIGH – County unemployment rates across the state rose in the first month of the new year, but Orange County remains the state leader.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce Division of Employment Security announced Friday that Orange County’s seasonally unadjusted rate of 6.6 percent is still the best in the state, almost a full point ahead of Chatham County that came in at number two. However, compared to a year ago, numbers rose slightly.

In January 2012, Orange County saw a jobless rate of 6.2 percent. The biggest jump came between December 2012 and January 2013 in which the county saw a 0.7 percent increase. Since the rates are not adjusted for seasonal employment, an increase of that size is not unlikely.

Graham County’s unemployment rate was the highest in January at 20.4 percent.

All of the state’s 14 metro areas saw increases to open the year as well, but the Durham-Chapel Hill area was the best. This part of the triangle saw a rate of 7.7 percent which matches the rate from a year ago. In second was the Raleigh-Cary area, which saw a rate 0.3 worse than Durham-Chapel Hill.

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