Jobless rate falls

Published 1:17 am Thursday, May 2, 2013

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate continues to follow the state’s trend.

As it did in 98 other counties, Beaufort County’s unemployment rate fell from February to March, decreasing from 11 percent in February to 10.5 percent in March, according to information from the N.C. Division of Employment Security. One county, Wilson County, saw its unemployment rate unchanged from February to March, at 12.2 percent for each of those months.

The state’s unemployment rate for March was 8.9 percent, according to DES, down from 9.5 percent in February, according to DES data.

Neal Anderson, supervisor of the DES office in Washington, discussed the county’s decreased jobless rate Wednesday.

“In looking at it, it’s primarily due to a number of people choosing not to participate in the labor force any more. We’ve got 538 less people looking for work,” Anderson said. “We’ve got 369 less working — 369 less people employed. We’ve got 169 less unemployed. I think it’s more of a change in labor-force participation because we haven’t seen any significant hiring. We’re still seeing scattered layoffs here and there. I think that is probably more of an indicator of what’s going on than anything else right now.”
Beaufort County’s work force for March totaled 20,610 people, according to DES information. That meant 18,447 members of that work force were working, with 2,163 people in the work force unable to secure employment, according to DES figures. Beaufort County’s work force for February totaled 21,137 workers, with 2,331 of them unable to secure employment and 18,806 members of the work force on the job, according to DES information.

For March, no county had a jobless rate at 5 percent or below. There were 56 counties with unemployment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent. Forty-four counties had unemployment rates at 10 percent or higher, according to DES.
Of the state’s 100 counties, Orange County had the lowest jobless rate in March at 5.6 percent. Graham County had the highest jobless rate in March at 17.8 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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