Most counties report January increases
Beaufort County was the only county in the Daily News' readership area to see a decline in its unemployment rate in January, the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina has reported.
Tyrrell County had the state's highest rate -- 15.4 percent -- mostly due to layoffs in the service and food and "kindred products industries," the ESC reported.
In January 2002, Tyrrell's rate also was 15.4 percent, as the county at that time reported the largest increase statewide from the previous month. Tyrrell County's rate was 12.1 percent in December 2002. In September, the rate was 6.9 percent. The county's highest unemployment level in 2002 came in March, when the figure was 17.4 percent.
Beaufort County reported a January rate of 9.4 percent, compared to 10.3 percent in December 2002 and 11 percent in January 2002. The county saw its highest level for 2002 in February, when the rate hit 11.1 percent.
Hyde County reported a January unemployment rate of 13.1 percent, compared to 9.2 percent in December 2002 -- the second largest increase reported in North Carolina for January. The county had a jobless rate of 13.7 percent in January 2002.
In November 2002, Hyde had a rate of 5.5 percent. Its low for 2002 was in October, when the rate fell to 2.5 percent.
Washington County saw its unemployment rate climb slightly from 9.3 percent in December to 9.8 percent in January. The county's rate had fallen as low as 6.7 percent in September, from a high of 8.8 percent in June 2002. In January 2002, the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent.
Martin County saw a small increase in January -- 7.8 percent compared to 7.5 percent in December. In January 2002, the county's jobless rate was 7.4 percent. The county's unemployment rate fluctuated between 7 percent and 8 percent through most of the first three quarters of 2002 before dropping to 5.9 percent in September.
Statewide, the unemployment rate in January was 6.6 percent, up just a bit from 6.4 percent in December.
Out of North Carolina's 100 counties, 75 reported jobless rates rising in January, according to the ESC. Thirteen counties had rates at 5 percent or below; 68 reported rates between 5 percent and 10 percent; and 19 had rates at 10 percent or higher, the ESC said.
Regarding the number of people seeking unemployent claims, Beaufort County reported 1,669 in January, compared to 1,892 in December. The county had a January work force of 17,722; in December, the figure was 18,361.
Hyde County reported a labor pool numbering 2,622 in January, compared to 2,895 in December. In January, 343 people were reported seeking jobs, while 265 were looking for work in December.
Martin County had 855 people in January seeking employment, while 822 were hunting jobs in December. The county's work force numbered 11,005 in January, compared to 10,995 in December.
Tyrrell County had a work force of 1,907 in January, with 294 seeking jobs. In December, the labor pool was reported to be 1,957, with 236 people seeking employment.
In Washington County in January, 5,732 people were reported in the work force, with 563 seeking jobs. In December, the labor pool numbered 5,933, with 553 looking for work.
Regarding neighboring counties, Craven's jobless rate rose just one-tenth of a percent, from 5.2 percent in December to 5.3 percent in January; Dare County reported a January rate of 12.9 percent, up from 9.3 percent in December; and Pitt County had an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in January, up slightly from 5.8 percent in December.
Gates County in northeastern North Carolina had the lowest unemployment rate in the state in January -- 2.8 percent. Gates primarily is a rural area; its county seat is Gatesville.