01/11/13 — Jobless numbers down across area for November

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Jobless numbers down across area for November

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on January 11, 2013 1:46 PM

Counties across the state continued a trend of declining unemployment rates when compared to their 2011 counterparts, but a local official said an influx of new jobseekers in November led to increases from October marks.

Area jobless numbers were released by the N.C. Department of Commerce statewide Jan. 3.

Wayne County continued to remain below the state's seasonally adjusted rate of 9 percent unemployment, showing an 8.6 percent rate in November.

That rate is half a percentage point less than November 2011, which area Division of Workforce Solution office manager Darlene Williams said showed progress, however slight.

"It's a gradual improvement, but certainly not a significant improvement from last year," she said.

Monthly numbers in 2012 have consistently been less than their 2011 rates, which Mrs. Williams has said before points to recovery, although unemployment numbers throughout the state are considered high, especially compared to the nation's rate of 7.8 percent, which has held steadily in November and December.

Monthly changes in unemployment aren't necessarily indicative of trends, Mrs. Williams has said, as seasonal hiring typically waxes and wanes due to harvests and holiday retail sales boosts.

Most November rates show decreases as retail businesses hire in anticipation of the holiday rush, but she said a slight increase in the number of people joining the labor force and an increase in the number of unemployment claims were likely factors in increases in North Carolina.

An increase in the number of young adults seeking holiday jobs would contribute to a rate increase, she said, as even those seeking part-time or temporary work would still affect the unemployment rate.

In and around Wayne County, Johnston County continued in November to lead the way with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the area at 7.9 percent, up from 7.7 percent in October and down from 9.1 percent last November.

The rates in Sampson and Greene counties ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point from their October totals, to 7.9 and 9.2 percent, respectively. Sampson County's unemployment rate was 8.8 percent in November 2011, while Greene County's was 9.7 percent a year ago.

Duplin County saw an increase of half a percentage point from its October rate to 9.3 percent in November -- 1.1 percentage points less than its November 2011 rate.

Lenoir County's rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.7 percent from October to November. That county's rate in November 2011 was 10.9 percent.

Wilson County's October rate, 11.6 percent, held steady in November 2012, while its November 2011 rate was 1.1 percentage points more at 12.7 percent.