Jobless rate up slightly

Published 1:24 am Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pat Oswalt, manager in the Washington office of the N.C. Employment Security Commission, prepares to close out his day late Friday afternoon. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate increased from 10.2 percent in March to 10.3 percent in April, an increase of 0.1 percent, according to figures released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell from 9.7 percent in March to 9.5 percent in April, a decline of 0.2 percent. Of the state’s 100 counties, 73 saw their unemployment rates decrease from March to April.

From March to April, rates increased in 10 counties and remained the same in 17 counties.

“Rates continue to decline across North Carolina as nearly half of North Carolina’s 100 counties are back below 10 percent,” said N.C. Employment Security Commission Chairman Lynn R. Holmes. “Growing jobs and getting people back to work continues to be a collaborative effort of Gov. (Beverly) Perdue and our economic and workforce-development partners. Our offices remain committed to serving those needing assistance in finding work or filing for benefits.”

The jobless-rate increase in Beaufort County came despite the consolidation of four boat-building operations at Fountain Powerboats’ complex on Whichard’s Beach Road and the resulting increase in jobs at that complex over the past several months. In an article that ran earlier this month in the Washington Daily News, John Walker, president of the combined operations, said only 30 people were working there when he arrived at the plant last year.

As of May 17 (the day Walker was interviewed for the article), there were 165 employees at the plant.

Beaufort County’s work force for April totaled, 20,290 people. Of that number, 18,204 people were on the job, with 2,086 people unable to secure employment, according to ESC figures. 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.

The work force in Hyde County for April was reported at 2,875 people, with 2,632 members of that work force with jobs. That left 243 people unable to find work, according to ESC figures. The March work force in Hyde County amounted to 2,807 people. Of that number, 2,498 people were working, leaving 309 people unemployed, according to ESC data.

Martin County’s work force for April totaled 10,996 people, with 9,827 of those people working, leaving 1,169 people unable to secure employment, according to ESC information. 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, according to ESC data.

The work force in Washington County for April was reported at 6,886 people. Of that work force, 6,119 people were working. That left 767 people unable to locate work, according to ESC figures. 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.

For April, no county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 47 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Fifty-three counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to ESC figures.

Currituck County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in April at 5.6 percent. Scotland County had the state’s highest unemployment rate in April at 15.8 percent.

Area Jobless Rates

At A Glance

Beaufort County

April 2011: 10.3%

March 2011: 10.2%

Change: + 0.1%

Hyde County

April 2011: 8.5%

March 2011: 11%

Change: – 2.5%

Martin County

April 2011: 10.6%

March 2011: 10.5%

Change: + 0.1%

Washington County

April 2011: 11.1%

March 2011: 11.5%

Change: -0.4%

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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