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RALEIGH, N.C. – Unemployment surged in January to record levels in Wake and Durham counties, and also climbed to a near record in Orange.

According to data released Friday from the , the jobless rate in Wake County climbed to 9.2 percent, up a full eight tenths of a percent from December.

Records are based on employment records dating to 1976.

Statewide unemployment hit a record 11.1 percent in January.

With unemployment topping 41,000, Wake topped the record of 8.8 percent set in June and July of last summer.

In Durham, meanwhile, the jobless rate jumped seventh tenths of a percent to 8.6 percent. The previous record was 8.4 percent reached in June and July of last summer.

More than 12,000 people were out of work in January and receiving unemployment benefits.

Orange County, which normally has one of the state’s lowest jobless rates, didn’t escape the surge in jobless claims. Its unemployment number grew to more than 4,700 and the jobless rate increased seven tenths of a percent to 6.9 percent.

The record high for Orange was 7.1 percent set last July.

Triangle-wide unemployment climbed to 9.3 percent from 8.5 percent in December, a new record.

“Certainly the Triangle is not immune to what’s happening in the economy,” said Larry parker, a spokesperson for the ESC. “It’s just taken longer to have an impact.”

The Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill metro areas also reached record levels at 9.5 percent and 8.4 percent respectively.

However, N.C. State University economist pointed out that the unemployment picture did show some improvement when season factors, such as temporary hires for Christmas and then being let go.

“The job market picture in the Triangle in January was better than the headline numbers show,” Walden told WRAL.com. “Although the jobless rate rose, employers added 2,700 jobs (seasonally adjusted) between December and January.

“This is consistent with the seasonally adjusted job gains registered for the state also in January,” he added. “Indeed, the Triangle accounted for a third of the total state net job gains during the period.”

Walden also believes that the unemployment rate could climb higher.

“I think we will see continued modest improvement in the job picture in the months ahead,” he said. “However, the unemployment rate may still rise as ‘discouraged workers’ – folks without a job but who have stopped actively looking for a job and therefore aren’t officially counted as unemployed – come back into the job hunt and are then counted as unemployed.”

Across the state, the ESC reported unemployment increased in all major metropolitan areas.

• Asheville — 10.1 percent, up from 8.8 percent in December.

• Burlington — 13.2 percent, up from 12.1 percent.

• Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC — 12.8 percent, up from 12.1 percent.

• Durham-Chapel Hill — 8.4 percent, up from 7.7 percent.

• Fayetteville — 9.8 percent, up from 9.3 percent.

• Goldsboro — 9.9 percent, up from 9.2 percent.

• Greensboro-High Point — 12.3 percent, up from 11.4 percent.

• Greenville — 10.8 percent, up from 10.1 percent.

• Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton — 15.8 percent, up from 14.8 percent.

• Jacksonville — 8.7 percent, up from 8.2 percent.

• Raleigh-Cary — 9.5 percent, up from 8.7 percent.

• Rocky Mount — 14.7 percent, up from 13.9 percent..

• Wilmington — 11.6 percent, up from 10.6 percent.

• Winston-Salem — 11 percent, up from 10 percent.

In Raleigh-Cary, employment in professional and business services and trade, transportation and utilities both declined by 2,100. Overall non-seasonably adjusted employment fell by 9,400, or 1.9 percent, from December.

In Durham-Chapel Hill, government jobs fell by 1,300 as part of a non-seasonably adjusted drop of 4,300 jobs.

Walden noted that while local data on a seasonably adjusted basis is not available that the state actually “rose by 5,700 between December and January.”