Jobless rate falls

Published 1:11 am Friday, April 29, 2011

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate fell from 10.8 percent in February to 10.2 percent in March, a drop of 0.6 percent, according to figures released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
In March 2010, the county’s unemployment rate was 12.5 percent.
From February to March, 99 counties saw their jobless rates decline, with only Greene County experiencing a rise in the jobless rate from February to March. The state’s jobless rate in March was at 9.7 percent, down 0.4 percent from the jobless rate of 10.1 percent in February, according to ESC data.
“We dropped six-tenths of a percent. I would not be surprised to see it drop a little bit more next month,” said Patrick Oswalt, manager of the ESC office in Washington. “We are seeing a very slight increase in job orders, job openings.”
The number of area residents filing applications for unemployment-insurance benefits has “dropped tremendously,” he said.
Beaufort County’s work force was reported at 20,670 people in March, with 18,563 of those people working. That left 2,107 people unable to find work, according to ESC figures. Beaufort County’s work force for February totaled 20,440 people, with 18,257 of them working, according to ESC data. That left 2,183 people unable to find work.
The March work force in Hyde County amounted to 2,807 people. Of that number, 2,498 were working, leaving 309 people unemployed, according to ESC data. Hyde County’s work force for February was reported at 2,662 people, with 2,315 of them on the job, according to ESC data. That left 347 people who were unable to secure employment.
Martin County’s work force totaled 11,188 people in March, with 10,016 people on the job and 1,172 people unable to find work. The work force for February in Martin County totaled 11,082 people, with 9,860 members of that work force on the job, according to ESC figures. That left 1,222 people who were unable to find work.
Washington County’s work force for February totaled 6,842 people, with 6,051 of them working, according to ESC data. That left 791 people unable to secure employment.
“Unemployment rates declined in nearly every county in March,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes in a news release. “We are beginning to see more counties drop below a rate of (10) percent unemployment. This reflects the commitment by Gov. Perdue and our workforce partners to grow jobs in our state, and this agency remains focused on putting people back to work.”
For March, no county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 39 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Sixty-one counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to ESC figures.
Orange County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in March at 6.1 percent. Graham County had the state’s highest unemployment rate in February at 16.4 percent.
Area Jobless Rates
At A Glance
Beaufort County
February 2011: 10.8%
March 2011: 10.2%
Change: – 0.6%
Hyde County
February 2011: 13.2%
March 2011: 11%
Change: – 2.2%
Martin County
February 2011: 11.1%
March 2011: 10.5%
Change: – 0.6%
Washington County
February 2011: 11.7%
March 2011: 11.5%
Change: -0.2%
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.

email author More by Mike