County’s jobless rate falls

Published 12:15 am Saturday, October 29, 2011

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate decreased from 11.5 percent in August to 11.2 percent in September, a drop of 0.3 percent, according to figures released Friday by the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

The county’s unemployment rate was at 10.4 percent in September 2010, or 0.8 percent lower than a year later, according to ESC data.

The decline in the jobless rate from August to September may be something other than more people finding jobs, said Patrick Oswalt, manager of the ESC office in Washington.

“The good news is it went down. I don’t know why, unless it’s people coming off unemployment,” Oswalt said.

Areas employers, large and small, are mostly hiring one employee at a time these days, he noted.

The uncertainty over the future – short-term and long-term – of Fountain Powerboats further clouds the employment picture, he said. Fountain is implementing temporary layoffs for the present, he said.

Legal issues, including claims and counterclaims concerning money, have resulted in Fountain employees being sent home until further notice.

Overall, the filing of claims for unemployment-insurance benefits continues to be steady, Oswalt said.

“Our big increase has been in disaster unemployment relief … with the farmers and commercial fishermen,” Oswalt said.

Jobless rates in nearly all of North Carolina’s 100 counties decreased in September, according to ESC figures. Jobless rates fell in 92 counties, increased in four counties and were unchanged from August to September in four counties.

“The September data demonstrates a decrease in the unemployment rate for most North Carolina counties,” said Lynn R. Holmes, ESC chairman, in a news release. “However, many counties still face high unemployment rates. This agency continues to focus on helping our customers find work and get the assistance they need.”

Beaufort County’s (civilian) work force for September totaled 20,813 people, according to ESC figures. Out of that work force, 2,338 people were unemployed, with 18,475 people on the job. Beaufort County’s (civilian) work force for August totaled 20,939 people, according to ESC data. Out of that work force, 2,405 people were unemployed, with 18,534 people on the job.

Hyde County’s jobless rate for September was at 8.3 percent, up 1.5 percent from the August rate of 6.8 percent.

In September, Hyde County’s work force came to 3,139 people, with 259 people unable to secure employment, according to ESC data. That meant 2,880 people were employed. In August, Hyde County’s work force came to 3,291 people, with 224 people unable to secure employment, according to ESC data. That meant 3,067 people were employed.

Martin County’s jobless rate was at 11.7 percent in September, down 0.6 percent from the rate of 12.3 percent in August.

Martin County’s work force was 10,655 people strong in September, with 1,245 of that number without jobs, according to ESC data. Out of that work force, 9,410 people were working. Martin County’s work force was 10,669 people strong in August, with 1,306 of that number without jobs. Out of that work force, 9,363 people were working.

The unemployment rate for September in Washington County was 11.8 percent, a drop of 0.3 percent from the August jobless rate of 12.1 percent.

Washington County’s work force in September came to 6,851 people, with 808 of those people unable to find work and leaving 6,043 people on the job, according to ESC figures. The work force for August in Washington County totaled 6,851 people, with 6,019 people on payrolls, according to ESC data. That left 832 people of that work force unemployed.

For September, not one county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 42 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Fifty-eight counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to ESC figures.

Of the state’s 100 counties, Currituck County had the lowest jobless rate in September at 5.1 percent. Scotland County had the highest jobless rate in September at 17.3 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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