Jobless rate climbs

Published 1:06 am Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate increased from 10.4 percent in December 2010 to 11 percent in January, an increase of 0.6 percent, according to figures released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

North Carolina’s jobless rate increased from 9.7 percent in December 2010 to 10.5 percent in January, a rise of 0.8 percent. Unemployment rates increased in 99 of the state’s 100 counties from December 2010 to January. Over-the-year rates were down in 86 counties during 2010, according to ESC data.

“I don’t see any catalyst,” said Patrick Oswalt, manager of the ESC office in Washington, when asked in a brief interview with the Washington Daily News if he sees Beaufort County’s unemployment rate changing significantly in coming months.

He expects the county’s jobless rate to fluctuate several tenths of a percentage point in the coming months. One factor that could result in the unemployment rate declining would be unemployed people exhausting their unemployment benefits, resulting in them being removed from a list of the unemployed, Oswalt said.

The consolidation of several boat-manufacturing entities at the Fountain Powerboats complex off Whichard’s Beach Road likely will help some people find jobs, he said.

“I think that will help. I don’t know that it will significantly help the rate, but it will help. At present, Fountain is calling some of its laid-off employees back,” Oswalt said.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate for January was 9.9 percent, up 0.1 percent from the 9.8-percent unemployment rate in December 2010, according to ESC data. The national unemployment rate in January was 9 percent, down 0.4 percent from a 9.4 percent jobless rate in December 2010.

“The January 2011 data reflected a decrease in 86 counties over the year,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes in an ESC news release. “We continue to recognize that there are still challenges ahead of us as we continue to rebuild our local economies. North Carolina’s work-force development partners continue to provide services focused on helping people getting back to work.”

Beaufort County’s work force in January totaled 20,301 people. Of that number, 18,071 were on the job, leaving 2,230 unable to secure employment, according to ESC information. Beaufort County’s work force totaled 20,178 people in December 2010. Of that number, 18,076 people were employed, leaving 2,102 people unable to secure employment, according to the ESC.

Hyde County’s work force for January came to 2,611 people. Out of that work force, 2,271 people were working, leaving 340 people unable to find work. Hyde County’s work force for December 2010 totaled 2,672 people. Of that number, 2,364 people were working, leaving 308 people unable to find work.

The work force in Martin County totaled 11,012 people in January, with 9,765 of them employed, leaving 1,247 unable to find jobs. Martin County’s work force in December 2010 came to 11,122 people, with 9,948 of them with jobs. That left 1,174 people unable to find jobs.

In Washington County, the work force for January totaled 6,879 people, with 6,080 of that number on the job, leaving 799 people without work. Washington County had 5,811 people of its 6,574-person work force on the job in December 2010. That left 763 people in the work force unable to find jobs.

For January, no county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 23 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Seventy-seven counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to ESC figures.

Orange County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in January at 6.5 percent. Graham County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 19.4 percent.

Area Jobless Rates At A Glance

Beaufort County

December 2010: 10.4%

January 2011: 11%

Change: + 0.6%

Hyde County

December 2010: 11.5%

January 2011: 13%

Change: + 1.5%

Martin County

December 2010: 10.6%

January 2011: 11.3%

Change: + 0.7%

Washington County

December 2010: 11.6%

January 2011: 11.6%

Change: None

Source: N.C. Employment Security Commission

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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