The north country had some of the highest unemployment rates in New York state in February, according to statistics released Tuesday by the state labor department.

Of the top five counties for unemployment in the state, Lewis County was at the top of the list with a rate of 13 percent and Jefferson County was number three, with a rate of 12.3 percent.

Both counties were worse off when comparing February of this year with February of 2012 - Lewis County went from 12.4 percent last year to 13 percent this year and Jefferson County from 12.1 percent last year to 12.3 percent this year.

Comparing February to the preceeding month, January, doesn't improve things much: Lewis County's unemployment rate edged up from 12.9 percent to 13 percent, and Jefferson County stayed the same at 12.3 percent.

Only St. Lawrence County showed improvement: the unemployment rate in February was 11.4 percent, down from 12.1 perecent in January and 11.5 percent in February, 2012.

The north country also does not compare favorably with upstate as a whole, where the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. Counties with low unemployment included Tompkins County, (the Ithaca area), with 5.8 percent, and Albany County, with a rate of 7.4 percent.

The nearest big city, Syracuse, had an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, and the Utica-Rome area had a 9.8 percent unemployment rate.