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North Carolina releases new unemployment data, announcing

unemployment figures for December this morning. North Carolina’s unemployment rate has already shown up at historic highs of around 11 percent for ten straight months. The peak was 11.1 percent in May.

The U.S. Labor Department said yesterday that first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, showing jobs across the country remaining scarce six months after the national economy began to climb out of recession.

Economists forecast a weak jobs recovery this year as worried consumers hold down spending and banks limit lending to small businesses, which generate most new jobs.