Unemployment ticks up for Moore in November
BY TED M. NATT JR.
After dropping to its lowest level in almost four years, the unemployment rate in Moore County rose from 8 percent in October to 8.3 percent in November.
But local officials are not concerned - yet.
"When the rate goes up slightly after two months of going down, it doesn't necessarily mean the trend has changed," said Gene Norton, manager of the N.C. Division of Employment Security (DES) office in Aberdeen. "We don't need to draw any conclusions at this point.
"I don't know of anything that happened in November to indicate there's an economic downturn."
Norton said the larger question will be what the rate looks like in January and February in the wake of the recent news that Gulistan Carpet is closing its operations in Aberdeen and Wagram, eliminating nearly 400 jobs. The bulk of those workers are employed at the Aberdeen plant on N.C. 5.
"The November rate, obviously, is not influenced at all by the Gulistan situation," Norton said. "The big concern is what the unemployment number will look like in January after taking into account the layoffs at Gulistan."
Moore County had a labor force of 38,483 in November, of which 35,273 had jobs, leaving 3,210 people unemployed.
Moore County fared better than all of its neighbors except Chatham County, which had an unemployment rate in November of 7 percent. Hoke County came in at 8.8 percent, Randolph at 9 percent, and Cumberland at 9.7 percent.
Harnett, Lee, Montgomery, Richmond and Scotland counties all had double-digit unemployment rates in November.
Unemployment rates increased in 81 North Carolina counties in November, decreased in 13, and remained the same in six.
Overall, the state rate was 9.1 percent.
Nationally, the November unemployment report showed that anticipated negative impacts from Hurricane Sandy proved to be unfounded.
"While we did receive a downward revision of 49,000 jobs to October and September hiring, which brought the net job gain over the past three months in line with the concensus, total nonfarm payroll growth beat expectations, adding 146,000 jobs last month," said Sam Bullard, a senior economist for Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, in a recent newsletter.
Bullard noted that, by sector, gains were broad-based across service industries.
"On the positive side, retail proved to be the largest monthly contributor as retailers ramped up hiring ahead of the all-important holiday shopping season," he said. "On the downside, manufacturing slipped 7,000 jobs, while construction shed 20,000 jobs in November."
Bullard said economic activity appeared to be "limping into the final quarter of the year."
"With demand weak and uncertainty over the near-term outlook high, today's economic environment is not conducive for a significant accelerating pace of job growth in the coming months, in our opinion," he said. "We expect by the second half of (2013), activity will have picked up substantially and the environment for hiring will be more favorable than it is today."
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or email@example.com.
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