State unemployment drops below 5 percent
Published 4:57 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Beaufort County’s unemployment rate fell from 5.6 percent in August to 5.3 percent in September, according to information compiled by the Labor & Economics Analysis Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce.
The county is one of the 95 counties in North Carolina that experienced drops in their unemployment rates from August to September, with two counties seeing their jobless rates increase. Three counties experienced no change in their unemployment rates during that two-month period, according to LEAD figures.
The state’s unemployment rate dropped from 5 percent in August to 4.8 percent in September.
“North Carolina’s economic expansion continued to march along through September. Nothing indicates a short-term reversal. Most indicators, such as employed residents, jobs, housing permits and labor force participation all improved over the previous month. The only sustained negative trend comes from manufacturing; where hours worked have now declined for 19 straight months when compared to the same period last year,” according to the Commerce Department. “Historically, this was indicative of decreased consumer and business spending, and thus weakening economic conditions. However, due to changes in technology and manufacturing processes, the reduction in labor hours may not have the same impact.”
Among the state’s 100 counties in September, 56 of them had unemployment rates of 5 percent or lower, 44 counties had jobless rates between 5 percent and 10 percent and no counties had jobless rates of 10 percent or higher. Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate in September at 8.5 percent, according to LEAD data. Buncombe County had the lowest jobless rate in September at 3.6 percent.
For September, Beaufort County’s jobless rated was ranked 66th in the state.
Beaufort County’s workforce for September totaled 20,389 people, with 19,307 on the job and earning paychecks. That left 1,082 members of that workforce without employment, according to LEAD data. Beaufort County’s workforce for August totaled 19,860 people, with 18,728 of them on the job, leaving 1,132 people in that workforce without employment, according to LEAD data. Beaufort County’s workforce totaled 20,286 people in July, with 19,152 with jobs drawing paychecks, leaving 1,134 without employment.
Hyde County’s jobless rate decreased from 6.4 percent in August to 6 percent in September. In September 2015, its unemployment rate was at 6.5 percent.
From August to September, Martin County’s unemployment rate fell from 6.8 percent to 6.2 percent. In August 2015, its jobless rate was at 7.4 percent.
Pitt County’s jobless rate was at 5.1 percent in September, down from 5.7 percent in the previous month. In September 2015, its unemployment rate was at 5.8 percent.
Washington County’s unemployment rate decreased from 6.9 percent in August to 6.4 percent in September. In August 2015, the county’s jobless rate was at 8 percent.
The Washington statistical area’s jobless rate in September was 5.3 percent, down from 5.6 percent in the previous month. The Greenville-Washington combined statistical area’s jobless rate for September was 5.1 percent, down from 5.7 percent in August.
Of the state’s 15 metropolitan statistical areas, five of the six MSAs east of Interstate 95 and the Fayetteville MSA had the highest unemployment rates in September, all above or at the state rate of 4.8 percent, according to LEAD figures. The Wilmington MSA’s jobless rate for September was 4.5 percent.
The jobless figures released by the Commerce Department 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.