Beaufort County jobless rate falls|Largest one-month dropin nearly two years

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Contributing Editor

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate for October was 9.7 percent, a 0.04 percent drop from September’s unemployment rate of 10.1 percent, according to figures released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
The 0.04 percent drop was the largest one-month decline in the county’s jobless rate in nearly two years.
Jobless rates in 66 of the state’s 100 counties declined from September to October, according to ESC figures.
Beaufort County’s work force for October totaled 20,718 people. Of that number, 18,706 were working with 2,012 people unable to find employment.
Patrick Oswalt, manager of the ESC office in Washington, said explaining the jobless-rate drop in Beaufort County in October is a little difficult to do.
“I don’t see where the economy has gotten any better,” Oswalt said.
As for the announcement that more jobs will be coming to the county because of the relocation of the Donzi Marine and Pro-Line boat-makers to the Fountain Powerboats complex on Whichard’s Beach Road, Oswalt expects the effects of those relocations to show up in the county’s jobless rate several months into the future.
Still, some employers are hiring, he noted.
“A lot of people did drop off of unemployment because they maxed out,” Oswalt said.
He said it would be fair to say that Beaufort County’s unemployment rate declined from September to October because of a “mixture of the two” — hirings and people no longer receiving unemployment benefits.
Another factor may influence upcoming jobless rates, Oswalt said.
“We’re really going to have to watch Congress and see what they do about extending unemployment benefits. That’s really going to affect the rates,” Oswalt said.
Martin County saw its unemployment rate increase to 9.8 percent in October, up 0.02 percent from September’s jobless rate of 9.6 percent. Martin County’s labor force totaled 11,393 people in October, with 10,281 people on the job and 1,112 people unable to find employment, according to ESC figures.
Hyde County’s unemployment rate fell from 6.2 percent in September to 5.9 percent in October, a decline of 0.03 percent. Hyde County’s 3,034-member work force for October included 2,854 people who were working and 180 people without jobs.
In Washington County, the unemployment rate fell 1 percent, from 11 percent in September to 10 percent in October. The 6,724-member work force in Washington County for October included 6,050 people with jobs and 674 jobless people.
For October, one county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 62 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Thirty-seven counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to ESC figures.
Currituck County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in October at 4.9 percent. Scotland County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 14.7 percent.
“Over the year, we have seen unemployment rates decline in 90 counties, however, one-third of the counties had rates greater than 10 percent in October,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes in an ESC news release. “We continue to face economic challenges with respect to job growth, but we at ESC continue to assist those looking for work and those who qualify for unemployment benefits.”