Beaufort County’s jobless rate rises

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Contributing Editor

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate increased from 9.8 percent in October 2010 to 10.7 percent in November 2010, according to figures released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission on Tuesday.
The increase of 0.9 percent from October to November put Beaufort County over the 10-percent unemployment mark for another month. In October, for the first time in two years, the county’s unemployment rate was below the 10-percent mark.
Beaufort County wasn’t alone in seeing its unemployment rate increase from October to November. There were 98 other counties that saw jobless rates increase from October to November. Davie County’s unemployment rate of 8.9 percent did not change from October to November.
Beaufort County’s work force totaled 20,600 people in November. Of that number, 18,406 were employed, leaving 2,194 people unable to find work.
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.
“We’re going to bounce,” said Patrick Oswalt, manager of the ESC office in Washington, on Tuesday.
Oswalt expects Beaufort County’s jobless rate to dip a few tenths of a percentage point below the 10-percent unemployment mark or rise a few tenths of a percentage point above that mark in the coming months.
“We’re always going to see seasonal influences. … I’m not surprised it went up,” he said.
Oswalt said now that “Fountain (Powerboats) is back on its feet,” that should result in jobs becoming available to some of the area’s unemployed people.
Hyde County saw its unemployment rate increase from 6.1 percent in October to 8.1 percent in November, a 2-percent increase. Hyde County’s work force totaled 2,858 people in November, with 2,626 people on the job. That left 232 people unable to secure employment.
Martin County’s jobless rate increased from 9.9 percent in October to 10.6 percent in November, an increase of 0.7 percent. Martin County’s work force totaled 11,392 people in November, with 10,182 people on the job. That left 1,210 people who could not find work.
Washington County’s November work force totaled 6,706 people, with 5,956 people working, leaving 750 people unemployed.
“While the unemployment rates were up in 99 counties during the month of November, over-the-year, the rates have declined in 81 counties,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes in an ESC news release. “The ESC has 89 offices statewide to handle the needs of those looking for work and who are eligible for unemployment benefits.”
For November, no county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 44 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Fifty-six counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to ESC figures.
Orange County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in November at 5.9 percent. Graham County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 18.6 percent.