County's Unemployment Rate Drops Again
Moore County’s unemployment rate saw another drop in the month of May.
The jobless rate dropped four tenths of a percentage point, to 8.9 percent in May according to the latest report from the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina (ESC). The drop marks the third straight month of a decrease in the unemployment rate for Moore County.
Gene Norton, manager of the ESC office in Aberdeen, says that though the drop to below 9 percent looks optimistic, residents should not begin to think that the local economy is seeing drastic improvements.
“Part of the drop is more than likely seasonal fluctuations in the economy,” Norton said. “It’s still too early. I would not want someone to think that it is, at this point and time, a trend.”
Norton said that warmer weather and longer days have generated more economic activity because people have more time for leisure activities, such as going to restaurants, seeing movies and shopping locally.
“It’s good news,” Norton said. “It’s the first time we’ve been below 9 percent in quite a while.”
Norton said that the hospitality and resort industries saw the most growth in May thanks to the beginning of the tourism season.
“[The numbers are] not back to what they were two to three years ago, but it’s better,” he said.
Norton is also interested to see the effect of summer vacation on the work force when the June numbers are released. He said that June would probably present a larger percentage of unemployed people with students and employees from schools trying to get part-time jobs during their summer vacations.
“It could cause things to be skewed once again when the June figures come out,” he said. “It’s good news. Things are looking much better than they were a quarter ago, but time will tell.”
Norton added that his office has seen more local manufacturers preparing to hire people in the future, including the expansion of the Ingersoll Rand plant in Southern Pines later this year.
“It’s a sign that things are starting to pick up when manufacturers are ramping up,” Norton said. “It’s usually a good sign overall. Of course, we still have to wait a few months before we see the effects in the labor force estimates.”
Moore County was one of 47 counties that were at or below the state’s unemployment rate of 9.9 percent in May.
Moore County’s labor force consists of 36,731 people. In the month of May, 3,276 of those people were unemployed. The number of people employed was 33,455.
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