10/29/11 — County jobless numbers fall in September

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County jobless numbers fall in September

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on October 29, 2011 11:28 PM

Unemployment rates across the state took a tumble in September, but the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina said it is still working to help customers find work as high unemployment rates are still rampant.

Wayne County's rate decreased from 9.4 percent in August to a mark of 9 percent this month -- a full percentage point and a half less than the rate for the rest of the state and one-tenth of a percentage point less than the national average.

The manager of the Wayne County Employ-ment Security Commis-sion office, Darlene Williams, said the reason for the decrease was likely due to a boost in the manufacturing sector in the county.

"What we see that could possibly have contributed to the decrease for Wayne County is a few of our manufacturing companies have been adding on to their staff," she said.

But the downward trend for unemployment is regional, as the six counties bordering Wayne all saw decreases as well.

Johnston County's rate fell from 9.7 to 8.3 percent and Lenoir County from10.9 to 10.4 percent, while Sampson County's rate for September was 8.9, down from 9.2.

The unemployment rate in Duplin County decreased by a tenth of a percentage point to 9.3 percent, but the largest drop came in Greene and Wilson counties where the rate decreased by just less than a full percentage point. In Greene County, the September unemployment rate fell to 9.7 from 10.6 percent while Wilson County's rate decreased from 13.7 to 12.8 percent.

Ms. Williams said there wasn't a single, particular factor that had led to the decreases in the area.

"It's a mixed trend for the different areas, but we're going to continue to monitor those trends. We're just glad some people are getting back to work," she said, adding her office was excited about the prospect of a turnaround in the employment numbers.

Still, she cautioned that the timing of the decrease in unemployment could be due to the coming holidays and might be the first signs of the hiring blitz that typically occurs within the retail sector as the high-traffic shopping months approach.

The state has disbursed $4,074,448,794 of unemployment benefits from October 2010 through September 2011. Wayne County's share of that total has been $33,245,429.