North Carolina's jobless rate dropped last month for the first time since February. State officials say the drop to 4.8 percent came in part because the state's labor force shrank.
The state's unemployment rate has stayed between 4.5 percent and 5 percent for the past year. It reached the low point in February and March, grew to 4.8 percent in April and May, and then to 4.9 percent in June. It peaked in July at 5 percent before dropping last month.
State labor officials say the labor force dropped very slightly, from 4.58 million people in July to 4.54 million in August.