The Triangle's jobless rate rose significantly in August, news that is certain to raise concerns about whether the economy is headed back into recession.
The region's unemployment rate rose to 8.7 percent in August, according to data released Friday by the N.C. Employment Security Commission and seasonally adjusted by Wells Fargo Securities economists in Charlotte.
That's up from 8.3 percent in July.
"The economy worsened in August across the country and in North Carolina and there's really no escaping that fact," said Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner.
"It looks like what you would see at the start of a recession. That doesn't mean that a new recession has begun but we've heard an awful lot of recession talk lately and there's not a whole lot of margin for error in the economy with growth having already been so sluggish."
Vitner said the Triangle's job creation numbers remain in positive territory compared to last year, but hiring has stagnated over the last three months.
He said the worsening financial crisis in Europe has made businesses even more cautious.
"Folks are holding off on making major decisions," he said.
The News & Observer uses adjusted local data to provide better comparisons with the state and national rates, which are adjusted for seasonal factors.
At 8.7 percent, the Triangle unemployment rate is now at its highest point since February 2010.
Last week, the ESC reported that statewide the jobless rate rose to 10.4 percent last month - up from 10.1 percent in July. The August jobless rate is the state's highest in more than a year.