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Area jobless rates fall

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate declined 0.5 percent from March to April, according to figures from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division.

The Beaufort County unemployment rate fell from 11 percent in March to 10.5 percent in April, according to LEAD figures. The state’s jobless rate also fell by 0.5 percent from March to April, dropping from 9.6 percent in March to 9.1 percent in April.

Sharon Tyson, the assistant manager of the N.C. Division of Employment Security’s Washington office, was not surprised by the small decline in the unemployment rate for Beaufort County, noting that in the past several years the monthly jobless rates have fluctuated by several tenths of a percentage point.

“It looks like the trend is still the same. Several of the employers are doing a little hiring. I believe that’s helping the decrease (in the jobless rate),” Tyson said Friday.

Asked how the expected layoffs of 150 PotashCorp-Aurora workers at the end of June could affect the county’s jobless rate later this summer, Tyson said, “I don’t foresee that we can tell just yet how it will affect us.”

Unemployment fell in 93 of the state’s 100 counties, increased in three counties and remained unchanged in four counties.

“Rates continued to drop in April,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll in a news release. “Looking at over-the-year numbers, most of North Carolina’s counties have lower unemployment rates which is certainly positive. Throughout the state, our employment service offices assist those looking to find work with various programs and job search assistance. We are committed to both citizens and employers in getting North Carolinians back to work.”

North Carolina had 32 counties that were at or below the state’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

Beaufort County’s work force was at 21,037 people in April according to LEAD figures. Of that number, 2,215 were unable to find work.

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.

Hyde County’s unemployment rate fell from 13.7 percent in March to 10.4 percent in April, a drop of 3.3 percent.

For April, Hyde County’s work force was at 2,542 people, with 265 of them unable to find work, according to LEAD figures.

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.

The jobless rate in Martin County fell 0.4 percent from March to April, going from 11.3 percent in March to 10.9 percent in April.

The work force in Martin County for April totaled 11,291 people, according to LEAD data. Of that number, 1,230 could not find jobs.

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.

Washington County’s unemployment rate went from 12.4 percent in March to 11.5 percent in April, a decline of 0.9 percent.

In Washington County, the April work force totaled 6,406 people, with 738 of them unable to secure employment, according to LEAD figures.

In Washington County, the March work force totaled 6,524 people, with 813 of them unable to secure employment, according to LEAD figures.

In Pitt County, the jobless rate fell from 9.5 percent in March to 9.1 percent in April, a drop of 0.4 percent.

For April, not one county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 55 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Forty-five counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to LEAD figures.

Of the state’s 100 counties, Currituck County had the lowest jobless rate in April at 5.3 percent. Scotland County had the highest jobless rate in April at 17.4 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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