County’s jobless rate drops in April

Published 9:25 pm Sunday, June 6, 2010

Contributing Editor

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate for April was 10.7 percent, down from 11.5 percent in March, according to information released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
Beaufort County’s unemployment rate has been at least 10 percent each month since January 2009. Since February, Beaufort County’s unemployment rate has declined from a high of 12.3 percent in January.
In April, jobless rates decreased in 99 of the state’s 100 counties. Wilson County was the only county to see its unemployment rate increase from March to April, going from 12.1 percent to 12.2 percent.
Larry Parker, a spokesman for the ESC’s headquarters in Raleigh, said more and more unemployed Beaufort County residents have been finding jobs since the beginning of the year.
“You guys have a fairly small labor force, so it doesn’t take much change to affect your unemployment rate,” Parker said.
Asked if he expects the gradual decrease in the county’s unemployment rate since the first of the year to continue during the next several months, Parker said he is not optimistic about that happening.
“Typically in the summer, the unemployment rate increases because students enter the labor force,” Parker said.
Beaufort County has a history of its jobless rate increasing in May and continuing through the summer because of the influx of students into the work force, Parker said.
Still, ESC officials are happy with the jobless figures throughout the state for April.
“The positive news in the April county data is that there has been an increase in the number of workers employed throughout the state,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes. “At the same time, the news is tempered by the fact that more than half of the counties still have unemployment rates over the unadjusted rate of 10 percent. We continue to provide a variety of services in our 89 offices statewide to assist those seeking work.”
Attempts to obtain comment about the county’s jobless rate from the top two officials with the Washington ESC office were unsuccessful Friday. They were out of the office.
The state’s unemployment rate fell from 10.9 percent in March to 10 percent in April.
In April, Beaufort County’s work force totaled 21,206 people. Of that number, 18,938 people were employed, with 2,268 people unable to find employment, according to ESC figures. Statewide, 455,013 people in the 4,544,767-member work force for April were unemployed.
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.
As of Thursday, unemployed Beaufort County residents had received $1,433,265 in unemployment-insurance benefits during the past 30 days, according to ESC data. Since Jan. 1, Beaufort County residents have received $7,269,875 in unemployment-insurance benefits.
Martin County’s jobless rate decreased from 10.7 percent in March to 10 percent in April, a decline of 0.7 percent.
In Hyde County, the unemployment rate fell from 11.6 percent in March to 8.1 percent in April, a drop of 3.5 percent.
Washington County’s jobless rate for April was 11.2 percent, down from 12.8 percent in February, a decline of 1.6 percent.
In April, no county had a jobless rate at or below 5 percent, 37 counties had employment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent and 63 counties had jobless rates higher than 10 percent, according to ESC data.
Currituck County reported the state’s lowest unemployment rate in April at 6.4 percent. Scotland County had the highest jobless rate in April at 15.8 percent.