County's Unemployment Rate Takes Small Drop in October
Moore County's unemployment rate rose by a minuscule one-tenth of a percent from September to October.
"It ain't nothing," said John Wittenstrom, manager of the Aberdeen office of the Employment Security Commis-sion.
The unemployment rate rose from 4.2 percent to 4.3 percent. But Wittenstrom said good signs are everywhere.
For the first time in his memory, Moore County's total employment has been over 35,000 for three months in a row.
"That's a first for Moore County," he said.
Moore County's entire labor force is 36,892. Total employment is 35,321. Unemployment is 1,571.
Anything under 5 percent is pretty good, Wittenstrom said.
"I still think it's full employment," he said.
The local economy has been steadily improving, he said, with many companies looking to set up shop here due to Moore County's proximity to the Research Triangle and Fort Bragg.
"In general, things are going pretty good," he said. "There are a couple of irons in the fire."
Among its neighbors, only Chatham County has a lower unemployment rate than Moore, at 3.9 percent. Randolph and Harnett counties both have rates under 5 percent -- 4.4 and 4.6, respectively.
The rates of the surrounding counties include Lee, 5.5 percent; Cumberland, 5.6 percent; Hoke, 5.7 percent; Montgomery, 6.5 percent; and Richmond County, 8.1 percent.
Richmond and Hoke counties had their rates go up the most from September to October, a 0.6 percent change. Randolph County was the only county that borders Moore to have its rate go down.
There were 45 other counties in the state that had their unemployment rates go down.
"Nearly half of North Carolina's counties had a drop in unemployment," said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. "As we near the busy holiday shopping season, we hope the increase in county employment continues."
Thirty-two counties saw rates increase and 22 remained the same. The statewide unemployment rate is 4.5 percent.
Jackson County had the state's lowest unemployment rate, at 2.6 percent, while Scotland County had the highest, at 8.8 percent.
Matthew Moriarty can be reached at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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