Nov 282012
 

By Michael Abramowitz

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pitt County’s unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in October, down from 9.3 in September and 10.4 in August, the N.C. Department of Commerce reported Tuesday.

The October not-seasonally adjusted rate is a drop of one-tenth of a percentage point from September’s rate and 1.3 percentage points lower than the 10.5 rate of October 2011, state and federal figures indicated.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate was 8.8 percent in October, down from 10.3 last year. Unemployment rates decreased in 76 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in October, increased in 16 and were unchanged in eight, commerce department officials said. When compared to the same month last year, unemployment rates declined in 98 counties. North Carolina had 39 counties that were at or below the state’s not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 8.8 percent. Unemployment rates decreased in all 14 of the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

The number of workers employed (not seasonally adjusted) increased in October by 51,810 to 4,343,583. Those unemployed fell 5,314 to 416,631.

Since October 2011, the number of workers unemployed decreased 64,511, and those employed increased 142,497.

When adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in factors that occur at particular times of the year, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Pitt County was 9.7 percent, as reported by Jim Kleckley of the East Carolina University Bureau of Business Research. Seasonal factors include weather, college graduation and holidays.

The adjustment at this time of year is upward because of the rise in temporary employment for the holiday shopping season, he said.

Steady but small downward changes in the unemployment rate indicate a slowly improving situation since the Great Recession of 2009, Kleckley said. Employers and investors want to get busy building back the economy but are seeking signs of stability from the government, the economist said.

“One bit of uncertainty was taken care of on Election Day, but more remains because we don’t know how the budget and national debt problem will be addressed in Washington, D.C.,” Kleckley said in reference to the approaching so-called fiscal cliff. “Are we going to cut back services, raise taxes or do both? What Congress does will have a big impact on the national economy and, in turn, on the local economy.

“Everybody knows something needs to be done, but it’s still political,” he said.

Currituck County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in October at 5.5 percent, and Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 15.7 percent.

Non-seasonally adjusted rates in other nearby counties during October include: Beaufort at 10 percent, down from 10.4 percent in September; Carteret at 7.6, down from 7.7; Craven at 9.2, down from 9.4; Edgecombe at 13.8, up from 13.7; Greene at 9.2, unchanged; Lenoir at 9.4, down from 9.7; Martin at 10.7, down from 11.2; Nash at 10.5, down from 11.1; and Wayne 8.4, down from 8.7.

Non-seasonally adjusted rates for October in other selected counties include: Buncombe at 6.7 percent, down from 7.1 in September; Cumberland at 9.4, down from 9.7; Forsyth at 8.2, down from 8.7; Mecklenburg at 8.7, down from 9.1; and New Hanover at 8.5, down from 8.8.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9571.

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