North Carolina's unemployment rate is at 6.7 percent and falling.
The state Commerce Department reported Monday that January's jobless rate fell from 6.9 percent in December and continues approaching the national average of 6.6 percent.
An additional 17,000 people were working in January, compared with the previous month. The total number of people with jobs or looking for work increased by 6,000.
That's important because some economists say much of reason for the rapid fall in the jobless over the past year was related to thousands of discouraged people giving up on finding work. The same trend of a shrinking labor force and declining unemployment rate has been noted nationally as well.
The January report shows more than 60,000 left the labor force in the previous year.
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