RALEIGH — Bladen County saw its unemployment rate drop 0.9 percent to 11.4 percent in August. That is down from 12.3 percent in July following an uptick in June to 12.5 percent. Just one year ago, the jobless rate was also 13.1 percent in Bladen for a decrease of 1.7 percent over the year. Other counties in the area also saw decreases in their unemployment numbers for August. Both Columbus and ?Robeson counties reported decreases in their unemployment numbers. Columbus County saw its rate drop by 1 percent to 11.0 in August following dip to 12.0 percent in July after an increase to 12.3 percent in June. The rate of change over the past year has been a decrease of 2.1 percent. Robeson County saw its unemployment rate drop by 1.3 percent to 12.0 percent for August after inching upward in July to 13.3 percent following an increase to 13.0 percent in June. One year ago, Robeson County's unemployment rate was reported to be 13.7 percent. The rate of change over the past year is a decrease of 1.7 percent. All three counties remain above both the state and national unemployment rates for August. The state of North Carolina reported its rate to be 8.3 percent in August. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased slightly to 7.3 percent for August. In August, Bladen County had 1,719 workers who were classified as unemployed and claimed a labor force of 15,072. Columbus County had 2,595 workers classified as unemployed. Robeson County had 6,555 workers classified as unemployed. Robeson County claimed a labor force of 54,413 and Columbus County claimed a labor force of 23,530. Statewide for the month of August, 77 counties reported an unemployment rate between 5 and 10 percent and 22 counties reported a rate of 10 percent of higher. One county reported an unemployment of 5 percent or less. Statewide for the month of July, 62 counties reported an unemployment rate between 5 and 10 percent and 38 counties reported a rate of 10 percent of higher. No counties reported an unemployment of 5 percent or less. North Carolina had paid a total of $75 million in unemployment benefits and classified 74,490 individuals as unemployed for the month of August a decrease of 6,933 claimants since July. Regular Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance totaled 28,443 in August decreasing 5,461 from July. State and federal unemployment programs have paid $2,259,894,424 in total unemployment benefits for the period Sept. 2012 through August 2013. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance at the end of June was in the red ($1,938,251,653). The State Reserve Fund balance was $82,060,585.