Area jobless rates reach double digits

Published 10:25 am Sunday, March 22, 2009

By Staff
ESC manager expectsunemployment numberto continue slow rise
Contributing Editor
Unemployment rates in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin and Washington counties reached double digits in January.
The jobless rate in Beaufort County rose from 9.3 percent in December to 11.5 percent in January. A year ago, the county had a 6.2 percent jobless rate.
Beaufort and surrounding counties weren’t alone: All 100 counties in the state saw jobless-rate increases from December to January, according to data compiled by the N.C. Employment Security Commission. For January, the state’s unemployment rate was at 10.3 percent, up from 8.5 percent in December.
Beaufort County’s work force totaled 20,526 people in January — 18,169 with jobs, 2,357 without jobs. In December, the county’s labor pool totaled 21,748 people — 19,731 with jobs, 2,017 without jobs.
As of Friday, the ESC had paid $2,679,354 in unemployment-insurance benefits to date this year in Beaufort County.
Pat Oswalt, manager of the ESC office in Washington, said the increase in jobless rates and double-digit unemployment rates in the area don’t surprise him.
Look for jobless rates to keep rising, Oswalt said.
In a distributed press release this week, state ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr. tried to assure unemployed workers the agency would assist them.
Not one of the 100 counties had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below for January. Twenty-eight counties had unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent, and 72 counties experienced jobless rates at or above 10 percent, according to ESC data.
Dare County had the state’s highest unemployment rate in January with 17.3 percent. Orange County had the lowest jobless rate with 5.8 percent.
For more information on North Carolina unemployment statistics, visit the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina Web site at