Jobless rate in each N.C. county declines

Published 12:58 pm Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Contributing Editor

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate was lower in March than it was in February, as were the jobless rates in the other 99 counties in the state, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
Beaufort County’s jobless rate fell from 12.1 percent in December to 11.5 percent in March, according to ESC data. The state’s unadjusted employment rate for March was 10.9 percent. In February, the rate was at 11.8 percent.
“That could be probably it,” said Sharon Tyson, deputy director of the ESC office in Washington, on Monday when asked if the drop in the jobless rates for area counties could be attributed to an increase in the hiring of seasonal workers.
Tyson also said the decrease could be a reflection of “some people getting off unemployment-insurance benefits.”
“They’re steady,” Tyson replied when asked if the number of new claims filed for unemployment-insurance benefits have slowed down, sped up or remained at about the same level as they have been in recent months.
“I’m hoping it will drop,” she responded when asked about her expectations regarding jobless rates in the coming months.
As of Monday, unemployed Beaufort County residents had received $987,352 in unemployment-insurance benefits during the past 30 days, according to ESC data.
In March, Beaufort County’s work force totaled 21, 476 people. Of that number, 19, 011 were working, leaving 2,465 people unemployed, according to ESC figures. Beaufort County’s work force for February was at 21,391 people. Of that number, 18,802 people were on the job, leaving 2,589 people unemployed.
Martin County’s jobless rate decreased from 11.4 percent in February to 10.7 percent in March, a decline of 0.7 percent.
In Hyde County, the unemployment rate fell from 14 percent in February to 11.6 percent in March, a drop of 2.4 percent.
Washington County’s jobless rate for March was 12.8 percent, down from 13.3 percent in February, a decline of 0.5 percent.
“News that all North Carolina counties experienced a decrease in the local unemployment rate is certainly welcome, but we still have challenges ahead of us,” said ESC Chairman Lynn. R. Holmes in an ESC news release. “With initiatives like Reemployment Services (RES) and the Reemployment Eligibility Assessment (REA), the ESC is focusing even more resources to help our unemployed customers get back into jobs.”
Holmes said the Jobs NOW, an initiative Gov. Beverly Perdue created and that links workers and employers to resources critical in jump-starting local economies, is proving effective in helping lower the unemployment rate.
Statewide, the number of workers employed (not-seasonally adjusted) increased in March by 66,804 workers, to 4,058,349. The number of people unemployed decreased, by 38,401. The unemployment total in March was 496,734 workers, compared with 535,135 n February.
In March, no county had a jobless rate at or below 5 percent, 25 counties had employment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent and 75 counties had jobless rates higher than 10 percent, according to ESC data.
Orange County reported the state’s lowest unemployment rate in March at 6.4 percent. Graham County had the highest jobless rate in March at 17.2 percent.