Jobless rates drop in all 100 counties

Published 6:19 pm Monday, May 7, 2018

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate fell from 5.5 percent in February to 5.1 percent in March, according to information compiled by the Labor & Economics Analysis Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Unemployment rates in each of the state’s 100 counties declined from February to March.

From January to February, jobless rates decreased in 74 counties, increased in 10 counties and remained the same in 16 counties, according to LEAD data. Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate in March at 12.7 percent, with Buncombe County posting the lowest jobless rate in March at 3.3 percent.

“Steady is the best way to describe North Carolina’ labor market in March — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The state’s unemployment rate held at 4.5% for the 6th straight month. The labor force participation rate has not changed since

December. Job growth has been slow, but positive, and non-farm employment remains at an all-time high. All the while, unemployment insurance claims continue to hit new lows. It’s hard to find signs of any immediate change on the near-term horizon, so we might be looking for a synonym of steady to describe our economy next month,” reads a statement in a news release from the N.C. Commerce Department.

Among the state’s 100 counties in March, 68 of them had unemployment rates of 5 percent or lower, 31 counties had jobless rates between 5 percent and 10 percent and one county had a jobless rate of 10 percent or higher.

Each of the state’s 15 metropolitan areas experienced rate decreases from February to March. For March, Beaufort County’s jobless rate was ranked 69th in the state.

The Beaufort County workforce totaled 20,034 people, with 1,020 of them unable to find employment, according to LEAD data. Of that workforce, 19,014 people were on the job and receiving paychecks. In February, Beaufort County’s workforce was at 20,201 people. Of that number, 1,066 people were unemployed and 19,135 members of the workforce had jobs, according to LEAD information.

Hyde County’s jobless rate decreased from 14.8 percent in February to 12.7 percent in March. In March 2017, its unemployment rate was at 11.7 percent.

From February to March, Martin County’s unemployment rate decreased from 5.8 percent to 5.5 percent. In March 2017, its jobless rate was at 5.6 percent.

Pitt County’s jobless rate was at 4.9 percent in February, falling 4.6 percent in March. In March 2017, its unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent.

Washington County’s unemployment rate decreased from 7.5 percent in February to 6.9 percent in March. In March 2017, the county’s jobless rate was at 6.7 percent.

The Washington statistical area’s jobless rate in March was 5.1 percent, down from 5.3 percent from the previous month. The Greenville-Washington combined statistical area’s jobless rate for March was 4.7 percent, down from 4.9 percent in February.

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 March, all above or at the state rate of 4.3 percent, according to LEAD figures. The Wilmington MSA’s jobless rate for March was 4.1 percent. The Rocky Mount MSA was the highest at 6.3 percent for March.

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.



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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