Triangle unemployment jumps in January

Posted March 19, 2009

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— Unemployment in the Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan areas jumped in January to more than 7 percent.

New figures from the North Carolina Employment Security Commission show the Raleigh-Cary jobless rate soared to 7.9 percent in January. The rate had been 6.5 percent in December.

In Durham-Chapel Hill, unemployment increased to 7.3 percent in January from 6.1 percent the previous month.

Job Market Unemployment cuts across local industries

Across the state, unemployment worsened in every metropolitan area and in all 100 counties, the ESC said. The statewide unemployment rate increased to 10.3 percent.

Last week, ESC said the state's unemployment rate jumped to 9.7 percent in January from 8.1 percent in December. The number of people out of work – 443,000 – is a state record, and the January rate is the highest in 26 years.

"Manufacturing and construction have driven a majority of the layoffs that we're seeing that are affecting the numbers," ESC spokesman Larry Parker said.

The 10.3 percent figure is not seasonably adjusted. The lower January figure was adjusted to remove seasonal fluctuations.

The ESC reports the following jobless rates in each metro for January:

  • Asheville – 8.7 percent, up from 6.7 percent in December.
  • Burlington – 10.9 percent, up from 9.4 percent.
  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord – 10.5 percent, up from 8.9 percent.
  • Durham-Chapel Hill – 7.3 percent, up from 6.1 percent.
  • Fayetteville – 8.8 percent, up from 7.8 percent.
  • Goldsboro – 9.2 percent, up from 7.9 percent.
  • Greensboro-High Point – 10.5 percent, up from 8.6 percent.
  • Greenville – 9.7 percent, up from 8.3 percent.
  • Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton – 13.6 percent, up from 10.9 percent.
  • Jacksonville – 8.4 percent, up from 6.8 percent.
  • Raleigh-Cary – 7.9 percent, up from 6.5 percent.
  • Rocky Mount – 13.2 percent, up from 11.7 percent.
  • Wilmington – 9.9 percent up from 8.4 percent.
  • Winston-Salem – 9.3 percent, up from 7.6 percent.

Orange County had the lowest unemployment rate at 5.8 percent. Dare County had the worst at 17.3 percent.

Wake County’s rate increased to 7.4 percent in January from 6.1 percent in December. The Raleigh area lost 12,200 jobs in January, with the employment number dipping to 504,400.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector surrendered 3,500 jobs. Another 3,200 were cut in national resources, mining and construction. The leisure and hospitality sector lost 1,800 jobs.

"If the manufacturing plant isn't making the product, then there's going to be no truck drivers to drive those products to the point of sale," Parker said. "And at the point of sale, if they're not making any sales, they're not hiring people."

In Durham-Chapel Hill, unemployment increased to 7.3 percent in January from 6.1 percent the previous month.

The number of people working plunged by 7,000 from December to 285,800. Hardest hit by job losses were the professional and business services (1,800), trade, transportation and utilities (1,700) and leisure and hospitality (1,000).

In Fayetteville, the jobless rate increased to 8.8 percent from 7.8 percent. Jobs dropped to 126,500, down 3,300 from December. The most cuts occurred in trade, transportation and utilities (1,500).

Former cement contractor Stephen Dickerson is among those looking for work, and he said he feels lucky any time a temporary opportunity becomes available.

"Two years ago, the jobs we're booming. (Projects) were going up one after the next," Dickerson said. "(Now), you want to do your best on each project, but at the same time, in your mind, you know that, once it's over, it is over, and you have to start again somewhere else."

Across the state, unemployment worsened in every metropolitan area and all 100 counties, the ESC said. The unemployment rate increased to 10.3 percent.

In the WRAL Channel 5 viewing area, other county jobless rates for January compared to December were:

  • Cumberland: 8.9 percent from 7.9 percent
  • Johnston: 9.8 percent from 8 percent
  • Franklin: 10 percent from 8.2 percent
  • Chatham: 7.6 percent from 6.2 percent
  • Lee: 13.4 percent from 10.9 percent
  • Moore: 10.4 percent from 7.9 percent
  • Harnett: 10.9 percent from 8.8 percent
  • Hoke: 8.2 percent from 7.6 percent
  • Sampson: 8.9 percent from 7.1 percent
  • Wayne: 9.2 percent from 7.9 percent
  • Wilson: 12 percent from 9.4 percent
  • Edgecombe: 15.6 percent from 13.8 percent
  • Nash: 12 percent from 10.6 percent
  • Halifax: 14 percent from 12.2 percent
  • Warren: 13.4 percent from 11.2 percent
  • Vance: 13.4 percent from 11.5 percent
  • Granville: 9.7 percent from 8.2 percent
  • Person: 11.9 percent from 9.4 percent

This story is closed for comments. Comments on news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • domotamasi Mar 20, 12:52 p.m.

    This is old news. Where can I find the Feb numbers?

  • beachboater Mar 19, 2:21 p.m.

    If you think unemployment is high now, wait until some of Bev's budget proposals are passed into law (let's hope they are not). the business climate will be such that NOBODY will come, regardless of the handouts.

  • nufsaid Mar 19, 2:17 p.m.

    How about adding Mary Easley and her obscene salary for a created "job" at NCSU?

  • TheBullCity Mar 19, 2:04 p.m.

    UNC is also hiring a half million worth of managers in IT.

  • Barrackawack Mar 19, 12:52 p.m.

    What happened to the $25 unemployment federal stimulus increase and the first $2400 federal tax free that went into effect 2/28/09 ? Did Bev pocket that?

  • NC is my home Mar 19, 12:46 p.m.

    Having read the N&O, how many of those were at Capital Broadcasting? WRAL has been so quick to report the job loses at the N&O, in all fairness, shouldn't they report their own?

  • affirmativediversity Mar 19, 11:43 a.m.

    WHY is the layoffs at UNC being kept secret (or why is the media not covering this story?)

    There are layoffs at UNC today folks!


    I hope they laid off Erskine Bowles and, at least, two thirds of the MANAGEMENT!

  • lma1973 Mar 19, 11:15 a.m.

    The just posted the February numbers on here a week or so ago so why are they posting the January results again?

  • Raleigh Boys Mar 19, 10:58 a.m.

    WHY is the layoffs at UNC being kept secret (or why is the media not covering this story?)

    There are layoffs at UNC today folks!

  • freddie cadetti 72 Mar 19, 10:53 a.m.

    Living debt free. Per household: 1 tv, 1 car, 2 bathrooms max, eat at home 6 days / wk. One parent working, one staying home with kid(s). Stay married, go to church, eat healthy, exercise. volunteer. In other words...return to the 50's, and live better.