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Jobless rates up, no county spared

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate increased from 3.6 percent in September to 4 percent in October, according to information compiled by the Labor & Economics Analysis Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce.

From September through October, unemployment rates increased in each of the state’s 100 counties. The state’s unemployment rate increased from 3.1 percent in September to 3.4 percent through October, according to LEAD data. Scotland County had the highest jobless rate in October at 6.6 percent. Buncombe County posted the lowest jobless rate in October at 2.6 percent.

All 15 of the state’s metro areas experienced rate increases in October. Among the metro areas, Rocky Mount at 4.8 percent had the highest rate and Asheville had the lowest rate at 2.8 percent.

“Most of North Carolina’s key monthly economic indicators returned to trend in

October as the state began its recovery from Hurricane Florence. Two areas to watch are high Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims – which appears to be due, at least in part, to the hurricane – and declining Residential Building Permits. The latter is not unique to North Carolina. However, it could be a sign that business cycle is beginning to turn since new home sales drive additional spending throughout the economy and can be an indicator of shifting consumer confidence,” according to a statement included in the June employment-rate report issued by the department.

For October, Beaufort County’s jobless rate was ranked 68th in the state. The month before it was ranked 70th.

Beaufort County’s October workforce totaled 19,939 people, with 19,135of them working on drawing paychecks. Of that workforce, 804 people were unable to find employment. Beaufort County’s September workforce totaled 19,944 people, with 19,230 of them working on drawing paychecks. Of that workforce, 714 people were unable to find employment.

Hyde County’s jobless rate increased from 4.6 percent in September to 5.1 percent in October. In October 2017, its unemployment rate was at 5.4 percent.

From September through October, Martin County’s unemployment rate increased from 4.1 percent to 4.3 percent. In October 2017, its jobless rate was at 5.1 percent.

Pitt County’s jobless rate was at 3.3 percent in September, increasing to 3.7 percent in September. In October 2017, its unemployment rate was at 4.5 percent.

Washington County’s unemployment rate increased from 4.6 percent in September to 5.2 percent in October. In October 2017, the county’s jobless rate was at 6.7 percent.

The Washington statistical area’s jobless rate in October was 4 percent, up from 3.6 percent in the previous month. The Greenville-Washington combined statistical area’s jobless rate for October was 3.7 percent, up from 3.3 percent in September

Of the state’s 15 metropolitan statistical areas, six of the six MSAs east of Interstate 95 and the Fayetteville MSA had the highest unemployment rates in October, all above or at the state rate of 3.4 percent, according to LEAD figures. The Greenville MSA’s jobless rate for October was 3.7 percent. East of I-95, The Rocky Mount MSA was the highest at 4.8 percent for October.

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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