County Unemployment Rate Jumps
Moore County's unemployment rate rose significantly last month.
The jobless rate jumped from 5.6 percent in May to 6 percent in June, according to the Employ-ment Security Commission of North Carolina (ESC). About 2,363 residents now find themselves out of work in Moore County.
"Four-tenths (of a percent) is very significant for a one-month period," said John Wittenstrom, manager of the Aberdeen office of the ESC.
While he could not pinpoint the cause, Wittenstrom had a few theories about the increase.
For one, Wittenstrom said, the unemployment statistics account only for residents actively seeking a job or those receiving unemployment benefits. People who abandon their job searches are no longer factored in.
Wittenstrom said legislation passed by Congress that allows for extended unemployment benefits may have attracted more people to apply.
"A lot of people are noticing that they can get additional unemployment benefits," Wittenstrom said. "It is good for those drawing unemployment. It puts them back in the loop."
Additionally, growth of Fort Bragg and the surrounding area means more people are looking for jobs, creating a larger work force. Wittenstrom said that while one spouse may have work, the other may not.
Unemployment numbers are also typically higher in spring and summer than the rest of the year, according to Wittenstrom. He said that while statistics may rise during the summer months, they usually begin to decline in the fall once school resumes.
It seems that the most likely factor is the volatile state of the national economy, Wittenstrom said. The decline in the housing market, for example, has limited the number of construction jobs everywhere, he said.
Wittenstrom predicted that employment will continue to be problematic for the remainder of 2008.
"I expect the economy to stay rough for the rest of the year," he said.
For more on this story, see Sunday's print edition of The Pilot.
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