Jobless rate falls below 10 percent

Published 2:05 am Sunday, October 31, 2010

Contributing Editor

For the first time since January 2009, Beaufort County’s unemployment rate fell below 10 percent when it reached 9.9 percent in September, according to data released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
The county’s unemployment rate for August was 10.5 percent.
Beaufort County’s unemployment rate had been at least 10 percent each month since January 2009. In January of this year, it was at 12.3 percent, the highest since January 2009.
Statewide, the unemployment rate for September was 9.1 percent. Jobless rates dropped from August to September in 97 of the state’s 100 counties. They increased in two counties, including a .02 percent rise in Dare County and a .06 percent increase in Swain County from August to September, and remained the same in Northampton County.
Patrick Oswalt, supervisor of the ESC office in Washington, remains cautious when it comes to unemployment figures for Beaufort County.
“It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen out into the future,” he said Friday. “PCS (PotashCorp Aurora) and Flanders Filters have been doing some hiring and that helps.”
Oswalt expects the county’s unemployment rate to remain around the 10-percent mark in the coming months, as it has in recent months.
“It may even go down a couple of tenths of a percentage point,” said Oswalt, indicating he’s encouraged by September’s jobless rate in Beaufort County.
“Unemployment rates decreased in nearly every county,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes in an ESC news release. “Economic challenges continue to impact communities across North Carolina. We still have more than a third of the state’s counties with over 10 percent unemployment. Throughout our offices statewide, our staff continues to step up the effort to find work for job seekers and assist those who qualify for benefits.”
In September, Beaufort County’s work force came to 20,713 people. Of that number, 18,669 people had jobs, with 2,044 people without work. For August, Beaufort County’s work force totaled 20,796 people. Of that number, 18,607 people were working. That left 2,189 members of the work force without employment.
As of Friday, unemployed Beaufort County residents had received $994,237 in unemployment-insurance benefits during the past 30 days, according to ESC data. From Jan. 1 to Friday, Beaufort County residents have received $13,183,125 in unemployment-insurance benefits.
Hyde County’s jobless rate for September was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in August.
The unemployment rate for Martin County in September was 9.4 percent, down from 10 percent in August.
In Washington County, the September jobless rate was 10.9 percent. The jobless rate in August was 11 percent.
In September, one county had a jobless rate at or below 5 percent, 62 counties had unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent and 37 counties had jobless rates at or above 10 percent, according to ESC figures.
Scotland County had the highest jobless rate in September at 14.8 percent. Currituck County had the lowest jobless rate in September at 4.1 percent.