Jobless Rate Shows Slight Increase for May
The unemployment rate in Moore County rose from 8.4 percent in April to 8.6 percent in May, an increase that local officials believe is no cause for alarm.
“It’s not a big deal,” said Gene Norton, manager of the N.C. Division of Employment Security (DES) office in Aberdeen. “Historically, our labor force grows in May and June as students get out of school and begin looking for summer jobs.”
Norton said the two-tenths of a percentage point increase “is probably telling us a lot of people who have chosen to enter or re-enter the work force have not found jobs yet.”
“The people looking for work need to stay focused,” he said. “There are jobs out there. It’s just an arduous process for them to try and find a job to replace the one they just lost. The economy is still continuing to improve. It’s just been a slow process and will continue to be a slow process.”
Moore County had a labor force of 38,217 in May, of which 34,945 had jobs, leaving 3,272 people unemployed.
Moore County fared better than all of its neighbors except Chatham County, which had an unemployment rate in May of 7.1 percent. Hoke, Randolph and Cumberland counties were at 9.2 percent, 9.8 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.
Harnett, Lee, Montgomery, Richmond and Scotland counties all had double-digit unemployment rates in May.
Unemployment rates increased in Moore and 75 other North Carolina counties in May, decreased in 21 counties and remained the same in three.
Overall, the state rate was 9.4 percent. Currituck County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in May at 5.2 percent. Scotland had the highest unemployment rate at 16.9 percent.
Dale Carroll, deputy secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce, said unemployment rates declined in 88 counties when compared with the same month last year.
“Over the year, we see a positive downward trend,” Carroll said. “We are committed to helping employers put people back to work in North Carolina.”
Norton believes that the June unemployment numbers will provide more insight into the pace of economic recovery in Moore County.
“Things are looking a little better. There are applicants out there for the employers who have jobs,” he said. “I think June could surprise us.”
Nationally, employment was up 69,000 in May, while gains in April were revised down from 115,000 jobs to 77,000.
“The gains remain disappointing compared to prior economic recoveries,” John E. Silvia, chief economist for Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, said in a recent newsletter. “And that pace will continue to incentivize households, private businesses and governments at all levels to continue their restructuring to be efficient at a slower pace of growth.”
Silvia added that growth in the second half of the year will slow.
“Since the unemployment rate peaked in 2010, the decline in the unemployment rate has actually been accompanied by a drop in average wage gains,” he said. “This pattern suggests a different structure of wage setting in the U.S. labor market. In part, benefits compensation has risen as an offset to wage growth, as workers seek to protect their benefits in an uncertain world.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or email@example.com.
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