12/07/08 — Wayne County unemployment rate rises

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Wayne County unemployment rate rises

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 7, 2008 2:00 AM

More Wayne County residents were without a job in October, as the jobless rate increased to 6.4 percent -- up 0.1 percent from September.

Bill Pate, manager of the local Employment Security Commission, said he knew the rate would be up because his office has been "booked" with people trying to file unemployment claims.

And he expects the next few months to be even worse.

"The November rates are going to be even higher," he said. "More and more people are continuing to make unemployment claims."

The increase in the county matches the increase in state unemployment rates -- a change from 6.6 percent in September to 6.7 percent in October -- and over the month, the jobless rate increased in 61 counties, decreased in 26 and remained unchanged in 13, ESC labor market conditions reports show.

"This all just shows a trend that the rate is heading upwards," Pate said.

Last year at this time, unemployment rates were under 5 percent.

"In Oct. 2007, we had 2,306 people unemployed, and we have 3,412 now," Pate said. "So it's gone up more than 1,000 people in a year. That just gives you an idea of where it could go."

In the last 30 days, $1,174,258 in unemployment has been paid out, and since Jan. 2008, that number increases to $9,110,586, Pate said.

"That statistic just glares out at me everytime I look at it," he added.

And unemployment benefit claims are the same way -- an increase of 771 initial claims this October from 489 last October.

But Pate said that Wayne County and North Carolina are not the only ones suffering with high jobless rates.

"If you look across the country, we are just paralleling what is happening everywhere," he said.

In most of the counties surrounding Wayne, the rates aren't much better. Wilson County has a jobless rate of 7.9 percent, Greene County's is at 6.6 percent, Lenoir County is at 8 percent, Duplin at 5.9 percent, Sampson County at 5.5 percent and Johnston County at 6.3 percent.