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NH jobless rate crept up to 5.2 percent in February

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 20. 2012 3:20PM

MANCHESTER New Hampshires preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February crept up 0.1 percentage point to 5.2 percent, New Hampshire Employment Security said Tuesday.

The February 2011 seasonally adjusted rate was 5.5 percent, while the January 2011 seasonally adjusted rate was 5.6 percent, the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau said.

Its an improvement over the year but over the last month is more like a stabilization, Employment Security economist Annette Nielsen said.

The big improvement was over the year with an increase of 6,990 more employed residents and 2,120 fewer unemployed in February 2012 compared to February 2011.

The January non-farm unemployment rate also was revised downwards to 5.1 percent from the preliminary 5.2 percent figure released in late February.

From January to February, the total labor force increased by 430 to 742,560. That was an increase of 4,870 from February 2011.

A slight increase in unemployment coupled with growth in the labor force combined to keep the unemployment rate from falling over the month, state officials said in a news release.

In February, there were 350 more employed residents pushing the total to 704,280 but the number of jobless rose by 80 to 38,280 compared to the month before.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2012 was 8.3 percent, unchanged from the January rate and a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from February 2011.

Changes in unemployment have leveled off after big declines from 2010 to 2011, Neilsen said. The unemployment rate fell by more than a percentage point from 2010 to 2011 in both January and February. From February 2011 to February 2012 we only improved by 0.3 percentage point, she said.

The figures exclude farm employment.

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