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Unemployment rates drop in September

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on November 6, 2012 1:46 PM

Unemployment rates across the state were down in September compared to 2011 according to data released by the N.C. Department of Commerce Friday.

Wayne County's September rate, 8.6 percent, was down one full percentage point from last year's, as were the rates for Duplin (9.1 percent) and Sampson (8.1 percent) counties.

Darlene Williams said, cautiously, that the percentage point decrease appeared to be a significant change since 2011.

As director of the area's Division of Workforce Solutions office, Mrs. Williams said her staff are hoping the unemployment rate will continue to decrease as seasonal hiring, typically associated with retailer hiring blitzes for the holiday shopping season, kicks in.

As for the newest data, she attributes it to hard work from the academic field, especially Wayne Community College.

"That improvement could be a result of our normal seasonal patterns, but there are more folks who have gone to work since last year for us to fall by a full percentage point," she said. "I think that has to do with the school system and educational system putting folks back to work."

Advances in the area's JobLink Career Center and additional programs through the college may have contributed, but Mrs. Williams said her staff is glad to see improvement, no matter where the credit goes.

"We're just glad to see those numbers decrease from last year," she said.

The rate dropped to 11.8 percent in Wilson County from 13.4 percent last year, while Greene County's rate of 9 percent represented a 1.5 percentage point decrease from last year's 10.5 percent. Lenoir County's September 2012 rate of 9.7 showed a 1.1 percentage point decline from last year's 10.8 percent.

Johnston County boasted the area's lowest unemployment rate, 7.9 percent, down from 9.5 percent last September.

The unemployment rate also decreased from August to September in 97 of the state's 100 counties.

Wayne County's rate was 9 percent in August.

In Dare and Pamlico counties the rate remained the same, at 7.8 and 10 percent respectively.

The rate increased in Currituck County from 4.7 percent in August to 5.1 percent in September, although it retained its distinction as the county with the lowest unemployment rate. Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 16.1 percent.