County could see lowest unemployment in 7 years

Published 6:27 pm Monday, November 27, 2017

At the end of this year, Beaufort County could have its lowest annual unemployment rate in seven years.

The county’s annual unemployment rate has declined steadily from 11.7 percent in 2010 to 5.7 percent in 2016. In the first nine months of this year, the county’s average unemployment rate was at 5.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So far this year, Beaufort County’s unemployment rate was at its highest in January at 6.3 percent, with the lowest rate at 4.4 percent in September.

Darone Dancy, director of the local NC Works center, believes the county will reach that seven-year low.

“Certainly, we are seeing a lot more employer-hiring activities. Certainly in advanced manufacturing — boating or marine activities,” Dancy said. “I expect the forecast to pretty much hold steady. We’re seeing a lot of hiring activities from employers. We’re doing different events to help them find job-seekers. So, yes, I can agree with that (seven-year-low projection).”

The October unemployment rates for the state’s 100 counties are scheduled for release Thursday.

From July through October, North Carolina’s unemployment rate has remained at 4.1 percent. It’s the state’s lowest jobless rate in 17 years, according to the Labor & Economics Analysis Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce.

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.6 million and accounted for 24.8 percent of the unemployed, according to data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate includes more than just people receiving unemployment insurance benefits. “The estimate of unemployment is based on a monthly sample survey of households. All persons who are without jobs and are actively seeking and available to work are included among the unemployed. (People on temporary layoff are included even if they do not actively seek work.) There is no requirement or question relating to unemployment insurance benefits in the monthly survey,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The jobless rate does not include people who want jobs but are not looking for work currently. “There are separate estimates of persons outside the labor force who want a job, including those who are not currently looking because they believe no jobs are available (discouraged workers). In addition, alternative measures of labor underutilization (some of which include discouraged workers and other groups not officially counted as unemployed) are published each month in table A-15 of The Employment Situation news release,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

During 2016, the average weekly wage in Beaufort County was $696, and the annual wages per employee was $36,206, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ quarterly census of employment and wages. The county’s total annual wages for 2016 was $586.6 million, according to BLS data. During 2016, the county’s employment average was 16,202 people.


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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