The Triangle jobs picture remained virtually unchanged in October from the previous month as the region's sluggish economy sputters into an unclear future.
The unemployment rate dipped to 8.7 percent in October, down from 8.8 percent in September, according to data issued by the N.C. Division of Employment Security and seasonally adjusted by Wells Fargo in Charlotte.
The Triangle jobless rate is now comparable to January 2010. Unemployment had entered a more promising interlude in past months during which it had fallen as low as 7.6 percent several times.
Still, the Triangle remains one of the healthiest job markets in the state. North Carolina's jobless rate was 10.4 percent in October, compared to a national rate of 9 percent.
About 70,000 people in the Triangle were out of a job in October. If the region's economy had recovered sufficiently to bring down the jobless rate to 5 percent, then the number of unemployed in the Triangle would be about 44,000 now, said Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner.
Vitner noted the local economy is dragging because core industries that had been immune to business cycles -- such as government and health care -- are shedding jobs or have reduced hiring.