Jobless rates rise in R-C area

Published 10:23 am Thursday, July 9, 2009

RALEIGH – While unemployment numbers across North Carolina rose in May, the four counties that comprise the Roanoke-Chowan area saw their respective rates remain below the state average.

And in the case of one local county – Northampton – the number of those without jobs decreased during May.

The Employment Security Commission of North Carolina released the May figures last week. Unemployment rates increased in 82 of the state’s 100 counties; decreased in 16 and remained the same in two.

“All of the state’s 100 counties continue to be challenged by this recession,” ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr. said. “We continue to work with customers in our 89 offices statewide – and over the Internet and telephone – to make sure those seeking work can find a position and those needing benefits receive those monies.”

Carey reported that ESC of North Carolina has paid nearly $3 billion in unemployment benefits over the course of a year. In the Roanoke-Chowan area, those without jobs have received $22.2 million in benefits since June of last year. That county breakdown is as follows:

Hertford: $12,062,623

Bertie: $4,695,652

Northampton: $4,230,785

Gates: $1,361,451

The statewide jobless rate in May stood at 11.1 percent with 505,445 citizens out of work. That figure is up from 478,695 workers without jobs in April.

Locally, the unemployment rate rose in three of the four R-C area counties. The lone exception was Northampton where the May rate (11.0 percent) declined from April’s 11.4 percent. With a labor force totaling 8,979 workers, 984 Northampton citizens were without jobs in May.

Despite a slight increase, Gates County (7.7 percent jobless rate in May) has the lowest unemployment figures in the R-C area and the fourth lowest in the state. That number is up from 7.3 percent in April, representing 374 workers without jobs within a workforce totaling 4,874 individuals.

Hertford County suffered the largest increase in the number of unemployed workers during the month of May. Boasting the local area’s largest labor force (10,142 workers), 1,057 were without jobs in May, thus giving the county a 10.4 percent unemployment rate, up from 9.6 percent in April.

Bertie County also experienced an increase with a jobless rate of 11.0 percent compared to 10.8 percent in April. With a workforce totaling 8,991 individuals, 986 Bertie citizens were jobless in May.

Unemployment rates in other northeastern North Carolina counties are as follows:

Camden: 8.0 percent (+0.4 percent from April)

Chowan: 11.5 percent (+0.5 percent)

Currituck: 6.3 percent (-0.7 percent. Note: Currituck has the state’s lowest unemployment rate).

Dare: 9.0 percent (-0.6 percent)

Edgecombe: 15.7 percent (+0.5 percent)

Halifax: 14.4 percent (+0.1 percent)

Martin: 11.2 percent (+1.0 percent)

Pasquotank: 9.9 percent (+0.7 percent)

Perquimans: 10.5 percent (+0.6 percent)

Warren: 13.1 percent (+0.5 percent)

Washington: 11.9 percent (+0.7 percent)