County’s unemployment is up

Published 1:23 am Sunday, September 4, 2011

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate increased 0.2 percent from June to July, climbing from 11.1 percent in June to 11.3 percent in July, according to figures released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
The state’s unemployment rate declined 0.1 percent from June to July, declining from 10.4 percent in June to 10.3 percent in July.
Patrick Oswalt, supervisor of the ESC office in Washington, doesn’t see the employment picture in the area improving anytime soon.
“It’s the same from the last few conversations we’ve had,” said Oswalt, referring to monthly queries by the Daily News about jobless rates in the area hovering at or above the 10-percent mark. “Nothing drastic has changed in either direction. We’re going to continue to bounce.”
There may be some short-term increase in the jobless rate in the near future, he noted.
“We will, probably, over the next month or two go up. It will be primarily because of the number of people who are going to be displaced, you know, for small or large bits of time because of the storm,” Oswalt said.
Although some people may lose work (temporarily) because of Hurricane Irene, others may find work because of the storm, he said.
“That’s unclear at this point,” Oswalt said. “We are still only within a few days of the storm completing its run. We’ll have to wait and see on that. I suspect there will be some.”
Oswalt said the local jobless rates for July reflect the loss of government jobs as the result of budget cuts at the state level.
“It was primarily education. There was a sprinkling of a lot of state agencies in there,” he said.
From June to July, jobless rates decreased in 48 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, with jobless rates in 39 counties increasing. Thirteen counties saw their jobless rates unchanged from June to July, according to ESC figures. In July, the state had 44 counties at or below the state’s jobless rate of 10.3 percent.
“All metropolitan areas across North Carolina experienced a loss in government employment, mainly in educational services,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes in a news release. “The goal of Gov. Perdue, the ESC and our workforce development partners is to grow jobs and put people back to work.”
In July, the work force (civilian) in Beaufort County came to 21,070 people. Of that number, 2,381 people were unable to secure employment, according to ESC data. That meant 18,689 members of that work force were earning paychecks. In June, Beaufort County’s work force was reported at 20,743 people, with 18,464 of those people working, according to ESC figures. That left 2,279 members of the work force unable to secure employment.
Hyde County’s work force for July totaled 3,376 people. Of that work force, 3,152 people were on the job. That left 224 people unable to find work, according to ESC figures. The work force for June in Hyde County came to 3,359 people, with 3,126 members of the work force working, according to ESC data, leaving 233 people unable to find employment.
In July, the work force in Martin County was at 10,662 people. Of that number, 9,368 people were drawing paychecks, according to ESC data. That meant 1,294 people could not find employment. During June, Martin County’s work force totaled 10,901 people, with 9,631 work-force members on the job, according to ESC figures. That left 1,271 people unable to secure employment.
Washington County’s work force in July totaled 6,938 people, with 840 of them unable to find work, according to ESC figures. The county had 6,098 members of its work force on the job in July. Washington County’s work force came to 6,993 people in June, with 6,166 members of that work force working, according to ESC data, leaving 827 people unable to find work
For July, no county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 34 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent.

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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