05/30/10 — Jobless rate down for second month

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Jobless rate down for second month

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on May 30, 2010 1:50 AM

For the second month in a row, Wayne County's unemployment rate has dropped.

The county rate dropped from 9.2 percent unemployment in March to 8.6 percent unemployment in April.

"Looks like we are finally seeing a positive trend, said Bill Pate, Employment Sec-urity Commission branch manager. "Again, as I reported last month, new initial claims are dropping weekly, and the numbers reflect the trend."

The rate began decreasing earlier this year when it first dropped from 9.9 percent in February to 9.2 percent in March. This year's April unemployment rate of 8.6 nearly matches the April 2009 rate of 8.7 percent.

Pate said there are also more jobs opening up.

"We have been receiving job listings from food service jobs and retail jobs in larger numbers," he said. "I think this indicates that the general public is a bit more confident with the improving economy and are beginning to spend again."

The Wayne County labor force is 53,261 -- of which 48,693 are employed and 4,568 are unemployed. The county joins 98 other counties in the state that saw a decrease in the unemployment rate. Wilson is the only county in the state that had an increase in its jobless rate in April. The county increased from 12.1 percent unemployment in March to 12.2 percent in April.

Other surrounding counties also saw decreases. Duplin County's unemployment rate decreased from 9.2 percent in March to 8.5 percent in April; Greene decreased from 11.1 percent to 10.4 percent; Johnston decreased from 10.2 percent to 9.2 percent; and Sampson decreased from 9.0 percent to 8.3 percent.

Wayne County remains under the statewide unemployment rate, which is 10 percent, down from 10.9 percent in March.