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Jobless rate dips slightly

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate continues its up-and-down performance, this time dropping from 11.3 percent in June to 11.2 percent in July, according to figures released Friday by the N.C. Department of Labor’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division.
From June to July through the state, unemployment rates either remained the same or decreased in 74 of the state’s 100 counties. In 47 counties, jobless rates dropped. In 26 counties, jobless rates increased. Unemployment rates were unchanged in 27 counties.
Sharon Tyson, spokeswoman for the Division of Employment Security office in Washington, said she believes the trend of unemployment rates falling or rising by one- to two-tenths of a percentage point likely will continue for the foreseeable future.
“That’s exactly what it looks like. It’s just been steady — a little high here, a little low there, but unemployment is still there. People (who lost jobs) are still coming in sporadically from different places, no one particular place in the last month,” Tyson said Friday.
The sporadic label applies to area employers hiring workers, she said.
“Like I said, it’s sporadic. No one big employer is doing any big hiring,” she said.
“A couple of months ago, we thought we had a couple of companies that were hiring, but then we had two or three companies that laid off a few people,” she said.
The state’s jobless rate decreased from 9.9 percent in June to 9.8 percent in July, a drop 0.1 percent, according to LEAD figures.
“Rates either dropped or remained the same in most of North Carolina in July,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll in a news release about the jobless rates. “Compared to the same time last year, nearly all of the state’s counties have a lower unemployment rate. We will continue our statewide effort between employers, our workforce partners and our employment service offices to put people back to work.”
In July, Beaufort County’s work force totaled 21,447 people, with 2,399 of that number unable to secure employment, according to LEAD. Beaufort County’s work force was at 21,470 people in June according to LEAD figures. Of that number, 2,432 were unable to find work.
Hyde County’s unemployment rate fell from 8.5 percent in June to 8.1 percent in July, a decline of 0.4 percent, according to LEAD data.
Hyde County’s work force had 3,159 people in July, with 255 of those people without jobs. In June, Hyde County’s work force was at 3,041 people, with 259 of them without jobs.
Martin County’s jobless rate remained unchanged from June to July at 12 percent.
In July, Martin County had a work force of 11,318 people, but 1,355 of them were unable to find jobs. Martin County’s work force had 11,311 people in June, with 1,360 of that number without jobs.
Washington County’s unemployment rate remained unchanged from June to July at 11.9 percent.
In July, the work force in Washington County totaled 6,565 people, with 783 of them without employment. In June, Washington County’s work force had 6,662 people, with 791 of them unable to find work.
For July, one county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 40 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Fifty-nine 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 July at 4.7 percent. Scotland County had the highest jobless rate in July at 17.6 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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