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County jobless rate falls

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate declined from February to March, according to figures from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division.

The county’s unemployment rate for March was 11.1 percent, down from 11.5 percent in February.

Hyde, Martin and Washington counties also saw their jobless rates decrease from February to March with Hyde County’s jobless rate falling by 2.7 percent. Pitt County’s jobless rate fell 0.3 percent from 9.8 percent in February to 9.5 percent March.

For March, jobless rates decreased in 98 of the state’s 100 counties and increased in the two remaining counties, according to the division. North Carolina’s unemployment rate for March was 9.6 percent, down from 10.1 percent in February, a decline of 0.05 percent, according to LEAD figures.

Sharon Tyson, the assistant manager of the N.C. Division of Employment Security’s office in Washington, said the 0.04-percent drop in the unemployment rate continues the trend of the county’s jobless rate fluctuating by several tenths of a percent but remaining in the double-digit range over the past two years or so. Tyson said she expects that trend to continue for the foreseeable future.

Tyson said some employers in the county are showing signs of increasing their number of employees. Recently, several businesses and industries have contacted DES about their need to hire additional workers, Tyson said.

“Unemployment rates were down in nearly every county in March,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll. “Over-the-year numbers show a positive downward trend as we continue to focus on supporting employees by growing jobs in North Carolina. We offer job search assistance, resume writing and many other programs at our employment service offices statewide for citizens in the job market.”

North Carolina had 35 counties that were at or below the state’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 9.6 percent for March.

Beaufort County’s work force was at 21,161 people in March, according to LEAD figures. Of that number, 2,344 were unable to find work. Beaufort County’s work force (civilian) was at 21,250 people in February, according to LEAD figures. Of that number, 2,451 were unable to find work.

Hyde County’s work force for March came in at 2.603 people, with 354 of those people unable to secure employment, according to LEAD data. Hyde County’s work force in February came in at 2,617 people, with 427 of those people unable to secure employment, according to LEAD information.

The work force in Martin County for March totaled 11,467 people, according to LEAD data. Of that number, 1,302 could not find jobs. The work force in Martin County for February came to 11,548 people, according to LEAD data. Of that number, 1,367 were unable to find jobs.

In Washington County, the March work force totaled 6,524 people, with 813 of them unable to secure employment, according to LEAD figures. Washington County’ work force for February was reported at 6,541 people, according to LEAD information. Of that number, 862 people were unsuccessful in finding work.

For March, not one county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 40 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Sixty counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to LEAD figures.

Of the state’s 100 counties, Orange County had the lowest jobless rate in March at 6 percent. Graham County had the highest jobless rate in March at 18.5 percent.

The jobless figures released by LEAD do not include unemployed people whose unemployment insurance benefits expired and who are not listed as unemployed. Factor in those people and a county’s true jobless rate is higher.

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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