Jobless Rate Takes Big Dip for September
BY TED M. NATT JR.
The Moore County unemployment rate fell from 9.1 percent in August to 8.4 percent in September, a drop local officials called "pretty significant."
"This is a major step in the right direction for us," said Gene Norton, manager of the N.C. Division of Employment Security (DES) office in Aberdeen. "We still have a long way to go to get the economy back to where we'd like it, but things are looking pretty good."
Norton said he was especially impressed with the seven-tenths of a percentage point decrease given that the county's labor force increased despite students returning to school.
"I wasn't expecting that big of a drop," he said. "Usually, the labor force shrinks in September."
Moore County had a labor force of 38,213 in September, of which 35,022 had jobs, leaving 3,191 people unemployed.
Moore County fared better than all of its neighbors except Chatham County, which had an unemployment rate in September of 6.7 percent. Randolph County came in at 8.5 percent, Hoke at 9.5 percent and Cumberland at 9.6 percent.
Harnett, Lee, Montgomery, Richmond and Scotland counties all had double-digit unemployment rates in September.
Unemployment rates decreased in 97 North Carolina counties in September, increased in one county, and remained the same in two.
Overall, the state rate was 9.6 percent.
Nationally, payrolls grew by 114,000 jobs in September with gains in many sectors.
"However, the manufacturing sector shed jobs again - this time by 16,000 workers, which is consistent with the weakness we have seen in orders and shipments," John E. Silvia, chief economist for Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, said in a recent newsletter. "On net, job gains remain positive, yet the pace of gains in construction, manufacturing and the service sector remains subpar compared with the prior two economic recoveries."
Silvia said real disposable consumer income has slowed significantly from the first half of the year.
"Today's data suggest continued weakness," he said. "Income growth continues to moderate compared with earlier recoveries and provides little support for consumer spending."
Silvia added that his group is cautious about the national unemployment rate falling to 7.8 percent.
"First, the unemployment rate has fallen from August through November the past two years, and this suggests there is a quirky seasonal adjustment," he said.
"Moreover, of the 873,000 gain in household jobs, 582,000 are part-time for economic reasons jobs, and 118,000 are self-employed jobs."
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or email@example.com.
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