DURHAM – Durham County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in October, down by two-tenths of a percentage point from the rate in September, and down 1.4 percentage points from the rate in October last year.
That’s according to data from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Labor Security that were seasonally adjusted by the East Carolina University Bureau of Business Research. The data were released Tuesday.
“I think what you are seeing is a gradual improvement in the economy – particularly over the last year,” said James Kleckley, director of the ECU Bureau of Business Research, in an email message.
Durham County had the ninth lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of any of the state’s 100 counties, according to the ECU Bureau of Business Research.
Durham County saw an employment gain of 999 workers from September to October, for a total of 135,081 employed workers in the month. The year-over-year gain was 5,254.
Meanwhile, the county saw a month-over-month unemployment drop of 276 for a total of 10,798 workers in October. The county saw a year-over-year drop in the unemployed of 1,734.
“You would expect – and hope – the employment increases to be relatively larger than the drop in the unemployment rolls,” Kleckley said. “Not only are you getting people back to work, but you are also creating new jobs.”
Orange County, with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6 percent, had the lowest rate of the state’s counties, according to ECU Bureau of Business Research data. Chatham County, with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, was No. 3 on the list. Person was No. 54, with a rate of 10.1 percent.
The Durham-Chapel Hill metro area, which includes Durham, Orange, Chatham and Person counties, had a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.1 percent in October, down from 7.3 percent in September, and down from 8.6 percent in October last year.
Those rates are seasonally adjusted, which means they account for seasonal fluctuations in employment. Kleckley said a large reason that there was a difference between the seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted data in October may have been because of the beginning of holiday hiring by retail businesses in the month.
The metro area had a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 6.7 percent rate in October, compared to 7 percent in September. The non-seasonally adjusted rate for September was revised upward from 6.9 percent to 7 percent.
Larry Parker, acting public information officer for the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security, said the rates are revised each month.