RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate for April fell further below pre-pandemic levels, the state Commerce Department announced Friday, as the number of newly hired workers continued to increase.

The seasonally adjusted rate of 3.4% represents a 0.1 percentage point decrease from March.

Barring future alterations — rate revisions are done annually — April’s seasonally adjusted rate is the lowest jobless rate since a 3.3% rate in June 1999, according to department historical data. The rate was 3.4% for several months after.

The monthly rate had fallen below 4% in the months just before COVID-19 commerce and movement restrictions in spring 2020 contributed to double-digit jobless rates.

A General Assembly staff economist wrote last week that state employment had returned to pre-pandemic levels last summer and had exceeded them.

The department reported 30,260 more people were employed in April compared to March, or 4.88 million overall. Total employment has increased by 204,000 over the past year. The number of unemployed people fell in April by over 3,900 to 173,350. In April 2021, the number of unemployed was 252,500.

Using another counting format based on monthly worksite surveys, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment rose by 11,300 in April to almost 4.73 million.