County’s jobless rate falls

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate fell 0.6 percent from 11.1 percent in August to 10.5 percent in September, according to figures from the N.C. Division of Employment Security.
Beaufort County followed a statewide trend in which 97 of the state’s 100 counties saw their jobless rates decline from August to September. Two counties saw their unemployment rates increase from August to September. One county’s jobless rate was unchanged during the same period. The state’s unemployment rate fell from 9.7 in August to 8.9 in September.
Neal Anderson, supervisor of DES’s Washington office, explained the decline in Beaufort County’s jobless rate.
“What we have seen is our labor force increase over the last month. Our number of employed increased by 301 people. Our number of unemployed went down by 114. So, that’s where our number of 10 and a half (percent) comes from,” Anderson said.
“I think what we’ve seen is some hiring for retail, getting ready for the holiday season,” Anderson said. “I know that the solar project out toward Bath has hired a substantial number of people that I think has helped bring our number down some.”
Anderson said unemployment-benefits claims activity in September and October was lower than in the previous eight months.
As for the drop in the jobless rate from August to September, “One month is not enough to call it a trend, but it is positive,” Anderson said.
Beaufort County’s work force in September was at 21,268 people, with 19,045 members of the work force employed and 2,223 members unable to find work, according to DES. Beaufort County’s work force totaled 21,087 people in August, with 2,337 of those people unable to secure employment, according to DES.
Hyde County’s jobless rate fell from 8.6 percent in August to 8.3 percent in September.
Hyde County’s September work force totaled 2,888 people, with 2,648 people on the job and 240 people unable to secure employment, according to DES. Hyde County’s work force reached 2,977 people in August, with 255 of those people unable to find jobs, according to DES.
Martin County’s unemployment rate decreased from 11.9 percent in August to 11.2 percent in September.
Martin County’s September work force numbered 11,276 people, with 10,015 people working and 1,261 unable to find job, according to DES. In Martin County for August, the work force totaled 11,169 people, with 1,331 of them without jobs, according to DES.
Washington County’s jobless rate declined from 11.8 percent in August to 11.1 percent in September.
During September, Washington County’s work force totaled 6,443 people, with 5,731 people on the job and 712 people without jobs, according to DES. Washington County’s work force in August came to 6,423 people, with 759 of them unable to secure employment, according to DES.
For September, no county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 62 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Thirty-eight counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to DES.
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 16.1 percent.
The jobless figures released by DES 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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