10/01/07 — Jobless rate hits seasonal low level

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Jobless rate hits seasonal low level

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 1, 2007 1:46 PM

As expected, Wayne County's unemployment rate dropped in August, matching the state average of 4.7 percent.

After reaching a high of 5.5 percent in July (the state was at 5 percent), Wayne's rate plummeted in August, due largely to a statewide decrease in the labor market.

"It went back down like I figured it would," said Bill Pate, manager of the Goldsboro branch of the N.C. Employment Security Commission. "The return to school dropped it back down to where it should be. And that's usually a lot of it this time of year -- people coming out of the labor market."

The not seasonally adjusted rate drop also puts Wayne County just below its August 2006 mark of 4.8 percent unemployment, and he continued, the economy is looking like it will remain strong, particularly with the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates.

Of North Carolina's 100 counties, 54 had rates higher than Wayne, 43 were lower and two were the same, with Scotland County at the top with 11 percent unemployment and Currituck County at the bottom with 2.6 percent.

Of those counties immediately bordering Wayne, Duplin's rate for August dropped 0.7 percent to 4.5 percent, Greene was down 1 percent to 5.1 percent, Johnston was down 0.4 percent to 4 percent, Lenoir fell 0.5 percent to 5.5 percent, Sampson fell 0.5 percent to 4.1 percent and Wilson came down 0.9 percent to 6.6 percent.

Not seasonally adjusted rates show unemployment conditions at the time the data was collected, with seasonal fluctuations not yet removed. They are not generally used in determining the significance of economic trends.

Nationwide, according to the United State Labor Department, the number of unemployed persons -- 7.1 million -- was unchanged last month, as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.6 percent in August. The jobless rate has ranged from 4.4 to 4.6 percent since September 2006.

Both total employment (145.8 million) and the civilian labor force (152.9 million) were down only slightly in August.

In North Carolina, total employment (4.34 million) and the civilian labor force (4.54 million) also were down slightly for the month.