Job seekers find work in Hertford County

Published 8:46 pm Friday, July 10, 2009

WINTON – The news could be better and it could be worse.

On Monday, Economic Development Director Bill Early gave the Hertford County Commissioners an update on the unemployment rates for Hertford County and the surrounding area.

“With the economic times we are in, I think it’s important that you be updated on the local economy,” Early said.

Early gave the board members a chart that showed unemployment rates in Hertford, Bertie, Gates and Northampton counties as well as in North Carolina for the first five months of the year.

The chart showed that Hertford County has been below the state rate each month in 2009. Almost all of the unemployment rates increased in May (Northampton dropped from 11.4 to 11.0), including Hertford County (9.6 to 10.4), Bertie County (10.8 to 11), Gates County (7.3 to 7.7) and North Carolina (10.7 to 11.1).

The good news for the county, however, is that more people are working than at any time this year. Hertford County has 9,085 people employed, which is better than the 9,063 in April which had been the previous best posted in 2009.

“In Hertford County we have 91 more people working in May than we had in January,” Early said.

He told the board the unemployment increase was due to a larger number of individuals seeking jobs. He said he believed some of those sob seekers teachers looking for summer work and students who graduated from high school seeking employment.

“That’s speculation on my part,” he told the board.

Commissioner DuPont L. Davis said he didn’t know if teachers or students would have been out of school in May and seeking employment, but Commissioner Johnnie R. Farmer said it was possible the 10-month employees wanted summer jobs.

Hertford County Commission Chairman Howard J. Hunter III said he was pleased with the information that was provided and liked being able to see the numbers in graph form.

Another part of the information provided by Early was the number of people employed in the four counties in May compared to January. Hertford County had 91 new people working while Bertie County had 173, Gates County had 102 and Northampton County had 64.

As for the change in labor force, Hertford County has 157 additional people in the labor force since January while Bertie has 140 and Gates County 120. Northampton County has lost 22 people from their labor force in those five months.

Commissioners asked about expansion of industry in the county and Early said both the Nucor and Decker were proceeding with work.

“Both projects are still looking very good,” he said.