North Carolina's jobless rate rose two-tenths to 9.6% in July but the state didn't fall any further below its peers.
The same four states are worse than North Carolina -- New Jersey, California, Rhode Island and Nevada -- states that have become a familiar refrain on the campaign trail this year. North Carolina in July ranked tied for fifth worse with South Carolina.
The announcement prompted in interesting bit of political spin, a cross-political blame game that is part of a larger effort to define for voters who is responsible for the economic hardship.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's camp to lambast the "state of the Obama economy."
"Over the last four years, President Obama’s failed economic policies have left us with more unemployment, more debt, and more uncertainty for middle-class families struggling to make ends meet," Romney spokesman Robert Reid said.
But Democrat Walter Dalton hung the blame on Republicans controlling the state legislature and ally Pat McCrory, his rival in the governor's race. Dalton is using House Speaker Thom Tillis' quote earlier this year in which he said Republicans "own the economy."
"For the last two years, we've operated under budgets that the Republicans forced into law and their devastating cuts to economic development and their educator layoffs have set back our fragile recovery," Dalton spokesman Schorr Johnson said. "Through it all, Pat McCrory has been their biggest cheerleader."
McCrory's team responded with spin hitting Dalton and Gov. Bev Perdue: "Under the Perdue-Dalton economy, North Carolina has now had 43-straight months of 9% unemployment. This is even more proof that it will take new leadership with a new vision to start the North Carolina comeback and create jobs through the private sector, not government."