County unemployment rate at 30-year low

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate has reached a 30 year low, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The rate was 4.1% in August of 2022. Out of North Carolina’s 100 counties, Beaufort ranks 40th for unemployment rates. The state’s unemployment rate is 3.5% as of August 2022. 


The statistic is not seasonally adjusted which means it does not reflect fluctuations in employment that occur certain times of the year. The unemployment rate measures the number of people over the age of 16 who are available to work and searching for employment. This excludes students, retirees and people who stay at home to care for loved ones because they are considered out of the labor force.   


Beaufort County’s unemployment rate in August of 1992 was 8.2%, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED). The county’s highest rate was in August of 1995 at 14.2%, but its lowest rate was in December of 2021 at 3.3%. The county’s unemployment rate has steadily declined since June of 2013 when it was 9.9%. There were two peaks – one in April of 2020 when the rate was 9.4%. It decreased to 5.7% by February of 2021 then again to 5.4% in June 2021 and has been decreasing since. 


In August, there were 19,752 people in Beaufort County’s workforce. These are individuals over the age of 16 who are either employed or unemployed. Comparatively, in December of 1992, there were 20,292 people, per FRED. 


Coming in at 3.1%, Chatham County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state whereas Scotland County had the highest rate at 7.7%. 


An article published by Reuters, explains the national unemployment rate of 3.7% (as of August 2022), is a new low because employers have been frequently hiring while increasing wages. In addition, more people are joining the workforce looking for higher wages.