FILE - New Hampshire Barber Shop

A customer leaves after a new haircut at the Derry Barber Shop in Derry, N.H., Tuesday, May 12, 2020. 

(The Center Square) – New Hampshire's unemployment rate held steady at 2.9% in June, according to the newly released figures, which show continued improvement in the state's labor market.

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

That's still the lowest unemployment rate in the Granite State since the outbreak began a year ago, and one of the lowest jobless rates in the nation.

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 number of unemployed workers in June dropped by 210 from May to 21,560, the state agency reported. 4,780 more unemployed workers in February than a year ago, which they attribute to the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, there were 733,350 people employed in the state in June, the agency said. That's a decrease of 1,810 from the previous month, but up by 51,070 from a year ago.

The state's total labor force decreased by 2,020 to 754,910 from May to June, according to the labor department's report.

The number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in June was 655,900, the agency reported. That's 700 fewer jobs than last month but 45,300 more than in June 2020.

Overall, New Hampshire's labor market has been improving ahead of other New England states are struggling to rebuild their post-pandemic economies.

There were 521 new claims for state unemployment benefits for the week that ended July 10 -- a drop of 35 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's weekly report.

Meanwhile, 10,491 continuing claims – a barometer of the unemployment situation – were filed in the week ending July 3, declining by 3,667 over the previous week.

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

The national unemployment rate decreased by 0.1% to 5.9% in June, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Labor Department.