Jobless rate drops

Published 9:57 am Saturday, June 6, 2015

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate declined from March to April, falling from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division.

The county’s jobless rate has declined in each of the first four months of this year. The jobless rate was at 6.8 percent in January. Since June 2013, the county’s unemployment rate has been below 10 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate fell from 5.4 percent in March to 5.2 percent in April. During the same period, 89 of the state’s 100 counties experienced drops in their jobless rates, six counties had increases in their unemployment rates and five counties saw no change in their jobless rates.

“A couple of things contributed to the decline. No. 1, during the seasonal growth, like seasonal jobs, you’ve got June coming in. You’re going to have people who anticipated finding work, and now they’re finding work,” said Wayne Rollins, senior business services specialist with the Region Q Workforce Development staff. “Is it the perfect job? Probably not, but it is employment. So, we’re starting to see those (lower) numbers as these people fall off the unemployment rolls. The other thing you’re going to have is folks who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, so will cause that number to come down as well.”

In April, Beaufort County’s workforce totaled 19,776 people. Of that number, 1.199 were unable to secure employment, according to LEAD figures, with 18,577 members of the workforce on the job and earning paychecks. In March Beaufort County’s workforce totaled 19,963 people. Of that number, 18,700 were drawing paychecks, and 1,263 people were unable to secure employment, according to LEAD data.

Thirty counties had unemployment rates at 5 percent or less in April, with 68 counties having jobless rates between 5 percent and 10 percent, according to LEAD figures. Two counties had unemployment rates at or above 10 percent. Graham County had the highest jobless rate in April at 12.8 percent. Orange and Buncombe counties had the lowest unemployment rate in April at 3.9 percent.

Hyde County’s jobless rate dropped from 12.2 percent in March to 8.3 percent in April, a decline of 3.9 percent, according to LEAD data.

Martin County’s unemployment rate increased from 6.9 percent in March to 7.1 percent in April, one of the six counties that experienced higher jobless rates in April than in March.

Washington County’s unemployment rate fell from 8.7 percent in March to 8.2 percent in April, a drop of 0.5 percent, according to LEAD figures.

Pitt County’s jobless rate of 5.5 percent did not change from March to April.

The Greenville-Washington combined statistical area’s unemployment rate was at 5.6 percent in April, the rate as in march, according to preliminary LEAD figures. In April 2014, that rate was at 6.1 percent.

The jobless figures released by the state 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, Rollins said.



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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