(Bismarck, ND) — North Dakota’s unemployment rate remains at a higher-than-normal level. This according to state officials, who say 20 thousand residence are currently unemployed. That figure is reportedly slightly more than five percent above levels seen in December. Authorities say part of the rise is linked to a usual drop in employment levels after Christmas. The good news, say officials, is that North Dakota’s unemployment rate remains well below the national average of 6.8 percent.