County Sees Big Jump in Jobless Rate
Moore County's unemployment rate increased significantly in July.
The jobless rate rose to 6.6 percent in July, up from 6 percent in June, according to the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina (ESC). The June rate was up from 5.6 percent in May.
About 2,595 Moore County residents are currently out of a job.
John Wittenstrom, manager of the ESC office in Aberdeen, said the only explanation he had was that there is a general slowdown in the job market right now.
"It's a rough time," he said.
Wittenstrom said he has noticed the number of construction jobs in the county has decreased significantly, most likely because of a slowdown in the housing market. Overall, he said, it seems like a lot of residents are seeking jobs, but employers just aren't hiring.
Wittenstrom pointed out that despite the tough market, Moore County is still better off than most of the other counties in the state. It's unemployment rate is still two-tenths of a percent below the state average and ahead of most of the neighboring counties. He said 6.6 percent "is relatively pretty good."
Across the state, 97 of the 100 counties experienced an increase in unemployment. Only two counties experienced a rate decrease, while the rate remained the same in one county.
"North Carolina had a large increase in the labor force throughout many of the state's counties during July; however, unemployment also rose," said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne, Jr. "Much of the increase is attributed to the significant number of people entering and re-entering the labor force, which could be a sign that workers believe jobs are out there and they are actively looking. We were encouraged by the large number of workers, 31,435, who found employment in July."
For the third consecutive month, all 14 metropolitan statistical areas experienced unemployment rate increases. Forty-five counties were at or below the state's unadjusted unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, which increased from 6.2 percent in June.
Total county employment (nonseasonally adjusted) increased in July by 31,453 workers, from 4,316,413 to 4,347,866. Nonseasonally adjusted unemployment increased by 34,622. The unemployment total in July was 317,972 residents compared with 283,350 in June.
The five counties with the highest amount in unemployment insurance benefits in July were: Mecklenberg, $10.4 million; Wake, $7.1 million; Guilford, $5.2 million; Forsyth, $3.2 million; and Gaston, $2.7 million. In July, $105.9 million in benefits was paid to 111,383 individuals statewide, compared to $89.9 million to 99,939 individuals in June.
Currituck County on the Outer Banks again posted the state's lowest unemployment at 3.8 percent. Nearby Scotland County had the highest at 11.7 percent.
Among Moore County's neighbors, only Chatham County posted lower unemployment numbers, at 5.8 percent.
Richmond County's rate was 9.4 percent. Montgomery County was next at 9.1 percent, followed by Lee County at 7.7 percent, Randolph County at 7.6 percent, Harnett County at 7.3 percent and Cumberland County at 7.2 percent. Hoke County matched Moore at 6.6 percent.
Contact John Krahnert at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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