North Carolina’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.4 percent in April, the highest it has been since August 2005.

The state did add 3,306 jobs in April, but the number of unemployed increased by 7,882 as more people entered the work force, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

“The size of the labor force increased in March and offset the increase in jobs,” said ESC spokesperson Larry Parker. “The fact we added jobs is encouraging, but there are more people looking for work. It may be people who had not been in the labor force, such as stay-at-home parents, are looking for jobs to help pay for gas or food or to save for vacation. We just don’t know.”

The jobless rate increased from 5.2 percent in March and has risen since the first of the year from 4.7 percent.

Nationally, the jobless rate fell in April to 5 percent from 5.1 percent in March.

In Wake County, jobs are available but are more difficult to land, warned Gene Norton, manager of the ESC’s Raleigh-Cary office. Particularly scarce are high-paying positions and information technology related jobs, he added.

“We’re seeing a pretty significant number of jobs right now, but we’re also seeing some layoffs,” Norton said. “They are pretty much canceling each other out.”

As examples, Norton said the City of Cary recently posted 20 open positions; however, Kenco Management Services in Morrisville is laying off 15 people.

“People looking for jobs need to recognize up front that it’s a little tougher right now to find one,” he said, “but it’s not like it was during the last recession.”

Statewide, Norton noted, there are “pockets” where the job situation “is not anything like this area, which is good.”

Unemployment in Raleigh-Cary dipped to 4 percent in March from 4.2 percent in February. The April rate will be announced next week.