FILE - New Hampshire Employment

Red mailbox flags signify open work stations in a New Hampshire employment job center on Monday, May 10, 2021, in Manchester, N.H. 

(The Center Square) – New Hampshire's unemployment rate held steady in October in a sign that the state's economic recovery is slowing, according to the newly released data.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month remained largely unchanged from September at 2.9%, New Hampshire Employment Security said in a report.

New Hampshire's unemployment rate remains well below the national rate, which decreased slightly to 4.6% in October, according to data from the U.S. Labor Department.

At the height of the pandemic, New Hampshire's unemployment rate rose to more than 16% as tens of thousands of workers were sidelined to prevent the spread of the virus. 

The unemployment rate was 4.7% in October 2020, according to the state agency.

There were 725,960 people employed in the state in October, the agency said. That's a decrease of 1,880 from the previous month, but up by 710 from the same month one year ago.

The number of unemployed workers in October decreased by 480 to 21,360 between September and October, the state agency reported, which is 14,770 fewer jobless workers than the same month a year ago.

The number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment jobs last month was 664,000, which is 1,900 more jobs than the previous month and 21,300 more jobs than the same month last year, the agency reported. A majority of those jobs were in private industries.

Overall, the state's total workforce decreased from September to October by 2,360 to 747,320. This was a drop of 14,060 from October 2020, the state labor agency reported.

New Hampshire's labor market is on track to see more gains this month, with the latest data showing the number of people seeking jobless benefits continuing to decline.

There were 383 new applications for state unemployment benefits filed for the week that ended Nov. 6, the federal agency reported on Thursday. That's 71 more newly filed claims than the previous week.

Meanwhile, continuing state unemployment claims – which lag behind a week but are viewed as a barometer of the unemployment situation – totaled 2,405 in the week ending Oct. 30, a decrease of 210 over the previous week.

The state has paid out more than $1.8 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began.