08/01/10 — County jobless rate creeps up

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County jobless rate creeps up

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 1, 2010 1:50 AM

Wayne County's unemployment rate increased in June, ending the county's three-month streak of decreasing rates.

The June unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.7 percent from 8.6 percent in May.

The rate began decreasing earlier this year when it first dropped from 9.9 percent in February to 9.2 percent in March, then again to 8.6 percent in April.

"The increase of the rate from May of 8.6 to June of 8.7 reflects a small rise in (unemployment)," said William Pate, Employment Security Commission branch manager. "I expect to see the rate fluctuate over the coming months and perhaps going higher in the fall as seasonal jobs come to an end."

Pate said the June unemployment rate is often slightly higher in Wayne County because the automotive industry might do temporary layoffs while retooling the production lines for the new automotive designs, but he added that most of those workers have already returned to work.

Regardless of the slight increase, Pate said the county is still in a recovery, though slow, and that more jobs are being listed from local industry.

"Our automotive industry is doing well; the poultry industry continues to be in a hiring mode; and AAR hopes to land part of the Air Force tanker contract," Pate said. "These industries are still hiring, but not in great numbers yet."

In Wayne County the June labor force was 53,024 people, 48,435 of which are employed and 4,589 are unemployed.

Surrounding counties also saw an increase in the unemployment rate, with the exception of Greene County, which remained the same at 10.3 percent unemployment.

Duplin County's unemployment rate increase from 8.2 percent in May to 8.5 percent in June. Johnston County increased from 9.1 percent in May to 9.2 percent in June. Sampson County increased from 8.2 percent in May to 8.4 percent in June. And Wilson County increased from 12.5 percent in May to 12.6 percent in June.

In addition, the statewide unemployment rate increas-ed from 10 percent in May to 10.1 percent in June. Only 35 of the state's 100 counties saw a decrease in the unemployment rate for June.