R-C area jobless rate falls

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 8, 2003

RALEIGH – Northampton County’s jobless rate remains the highest within the Roanoke-Chowan area. However, more Northampton citizens were working in July as compared to the numbers from June.

Late last week, the North Carolina Employment Security Commission (NCESC) released its statewide unemployment report, a document that revealed Northampton County dropped by a shade over one percentage point in the number of those without jobs.

Of the four counties within the R-C region, Northampton stood alone in reduced unemployment numbers. Hertford County was unchanged from June through July while both Bertie and Gates counties showed slight increases.

In June, 738 Northampton citizens were without jobs. With a workforce of 8,021 individuals, that translated into an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent. Thirty-one days later, 98 of those 738 job seekers had gained employment, leaving the county with an 8.1 percent jobless rate. That marked a 1.1 percent decrease from June.

Hertford County, with the area’s largest workforce (12,019), remains with a 4.2 percent unemployment rate, unchanged from June. In July, 504 Hertford County citizens were without jobs.

Meanwhile, both Bertie and Gates counties showed minor increases in their unemployment rates from June to the end of July.

Bertie added 19 citizens to their number of unemployed workers, one that now totals 642 of a labor force of 8,283 individuals. That translates into a 7.8 percent jobless rate, up by one-tenth of one percentage point from June (7.7 percent).

Gates County also increased by the identical margin, up from 3.1 percent in June to 3.2 percent in July. Gates listed 137 workers without jobs in July, up by four over June.

Unemployment rates from July in other northeastern North Carolina counties are: Camden (2.4 percent), Chowan (4.6), Currituck (1.8), Dare (1.6), Edgecombe (10.7), Halifax (10.3), Martin (8.3), Pasquotank (4.6), Perquimans (3.3) and Warren (9.6).

Dare County, still benefiting from its traditional tourist season, has the state’s lowest unemployment rate. On the other side of the coin, Vance County topped the state for the fourth consecutive month with a 14.2 percent jobless rate. Most of that was attributed to lay-offs in the textile and apparel industry.

Textile lay-offs were also to blame in both Rowan and Cabarrus counties as their respective jobless rates skyrocketed by 5.1 and 3.8 percentage points, the highest two single-month increases statewide.

Overall, July unemployment rates fell in 64 of the state’s 100 counties. Rates rose in 31 counties and were unchanged in the remaining five.

Statewide, 292,753 workers, representing a labor force of 4.24 million, were without jobs at the end of July. That translates into a 6.9 percent unemployment rate, up by one-tenth over June’s 6.8 percent figure.

&uot;Job growth in industries affected by tourism, healthcare and retail sales is reflected in the decrease in the unemployment rates in some counties,&uot; said NCESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. &uot;However, continued lay-offs in textile manufacturing are still evident in counties where the industry has been a dominant economic force for many years.&uot;

In July, 95,737 initial claims for unemployment insurance were filed statewide, an increase from the 78,340 submitted in June. Textile workers (23,436) July’s number of claims.