Jobless Rate Drops
Moore County's unemployment rate dropped slightly in July.
New data released by the state's Employment Security Commission (ESC) showed unemployment was down two-tenths of a percentage point last month at 10.1 percent.
Gene Norton, manager of the ESC branch in Aberdeen, said Friday that while the drop is a positive sign, he believed it is still too early to start jumping to conclusions.
"The minimal change that did occur is obviously good news," he said, "but I would caution anyone not to assume that's the trend at this point. I don't think the economy is worsening, but I don't think it's recovering much either."
Norton said he is interested in seeing what happens over the course of the next few months. He said if retail improves during the holiday season, as some economists are forecasting, that could trigger some additional employment in the area.
Moore County has a labor force of 37,608. Of that, 33,823 are employed and 3,785 are jobless.
Moore County was one of 59 counties in the state that experienced an unemployment de-crease. Rates increased in 29 and remained the same in 12.
"Employment growth was modest in many of our counties in July," said ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr. "The coastal counties traditionally experience rate decreases due to tourism and the need for summer workers. The rest of the state has not had as much summer hiring compared to previous years, but there was enough to drop the rates in more than half of the state's 100 counties."
The state's unadjusted employment rate was at 11.1 percent. Moore County was one of 48 counties below that rate.
Rates decreased in nine of the state's metropolitan statistical areas, increased in three and remained the same in two.
Total county employment (not seasonally adjusted) increased in July by 3,275 workers, to 4,085,203. Not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment decreased by 2,738 workers.
The unemployment total in July was 511,519 workers, compared with 514,257 in June.
In July, $218.3 million in benefits were paid to 234,803 individuals statewide, compared with $258.1 million to 240,569 individuals in June.
Both Currituck and Hyde counties had the state's lowest unemployment rate in July at 5.5 percent. Nearby Scotland County again posted the highest rate at 17.1 percent.
Moore County again fared well compared to most of its neighbors. Only three -- Chatham County at 8.7 percent, Hoke County at 8.8 percent, and Cumberland County at 9.6 percent -- posted lower rates.
Those with higher unemployment rates were Randolph County at 11.8 percent, Harnett County at 12 percent, Richmond County at 13.6 percent, Montgomery County at 13.9 percent and Lee County at 14.7 percent.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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