The unemployment rate for Northumberland County dropped half a percent between February and March, according to the latest figures from the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).

DLI reported Tuesday that the March unemployment rate was 8.5 percent, down .5 percent from February's updated rate of 9 percent.

The county unemployment rate is above both the seasonably adjusted rates of 7.6 percent nationally and 7.9 percent statewide.

The most recent county rate is higher than it was two years in a row at 8 percent in 2012 and 2011, but lower than it was three years ago at 9.9 percent and four years ago at 9.7 percent.

Jobless rates in neighboring counties are Montour, 5.5 percent; Columbia, 7.1 percent; Juniata, 7.1 percent; Dauphin, 7.2 percent; Perry, 7.4 percent; Union, 7.5 percent; Snyder, 7.6 percent; Lycoming, 8.1 percent, and Schuylkill, 8.8 percent.

Unemployment rates in the neighboring counties decreased, and the largest changes were in Columbia, Juniata and Schuylkill counties with .5 percent drops.

Montour County, at 5.5 percent, has the lowest jobless rate in Pennsylvania. Cameron County, at 11 percent, has the highest.

There are only three counties in the state at or above a rate of 10 percent.