RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ North Carolina is about to find out whether the statewide unemployment rate that's been dropping slowly for months is continuing to look better.
 
The state Commerce Department on Friday releases unemployment data for June.
 
The state's jobless rate dropped to 8.8 percent in May for the fourth straight month of slow improvement in the measure of economic health for workers,
 
But North Carolina remains stuck with the country's fifth-highest unemployment rate behind Nevada, Illinois, Mississippi and Rhode Island.
 
The number of people employed in North Carolina has increased by more than 37,000 in the past year, but there are still more than 416,000 people listed as unemployed.