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Jobless rate drops in Triangle, in most counties – But a blip or a trend?

Posted May 29, 2009

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—  Unemployment eased in a bit in April, including the Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan areas, but whether this is a blip or a trend remains to be seen.

Because the data was gathered county by county and was not seasonably adjusted to account for such influences as holidays, weather and school closings, rates are more likely to fluctuate, said Larry Parker, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

The statewide unadjusted jobless rate dipped to 10.5 percent from 11 percent as unemployment fell in 83 of 100 counties. Last week, the adjusted rate was 10.8 percent, the same as in March.

“What we’re seeing over the last couple of months is some decrease initial unemployment claims and we’ve seen a little rise in employment,” Parker said. “As high as the rates are now, it’s not going to take much of a hiring change to affect the rate.

“We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but it’s nice to see back-to-back months some employment gain.”

In Raleigh-Cary, the jobless rate dipped to 8.3 percent from 8.7 percent in March. The Durham-Chapel Hill rate fell to 7.3 percent from 7.6 percent.

In several area counties, rates also fell:

• Wake 7.9 from 8.2;
• Durham 7.3 from 7.7;
• Orange 5.8 to 6.1 – the state’s lowest;
• Johnston, 10.2 from 10.6;
• Cumberland 8.5 from 9.2;
• Edgecombe 15.3 from 16.2.

However, Parker acknowledged, students will soon be flooding the workforce looking for jobs in a tight employment market across the state, which has one of the nation’s highest jobless rates. On the other hand, tourism-reliant industries are gearing up for the summer, and Parker noted that how much hiring takes place because of the economy will further affect the job picture.

N.C. State University economist Dr. Michael Walden said the latest numbers were encouraging, with more than 47,000 people finding jobs while overall unemployment rolls decreased by 16,000. But he also cautioned that the good news could be temporary.

“The April employment report was certainly good news for North Carolina, with the number of jobs increasing in both the household and employer surveys,” Walden told WRAL.com.

“However, it is much too early to declare a turnaround in the job market,” he explained. “Previous recessions have taught us that job gains can occur in some months only to be followed by deep job cuts. So we would need to see several more consecutive months of employment increases to be optimistic about the job picture.”

In the past, Walden has forecast jobless rate as high as 14 percent for North Carolina. And he’s not predicting a quick turnaround from the 10.5 percent rate.

“Economists still think it won't be until early 2010 that a permanent positive job market picture will occur,” he said.

In reviewing jobs data, Walden noted job gains “were not wide spread.”

“Instead, they were concentrated in two sectors: leisure/hospitality and health care,” he explained. “It may be that firms in the leisure/hospitality industry were gearing up early for the summer season. And health care has remained our best recession-proof industry.”

Unemployment rates in all the state’s metro areas with the exception of Burlington decreased:

• Asheville — 9.0 percent, down from 9.4 percent in March.
• Burlington — 12.0 percent, up from 11.9 percent.
• Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC — 11.4 percent, down from 11.6 percent.
• Durham-Chapel Hill — 7.3 percent, down from 7.6 percent.
• Fayetteville — 8.4 percent, down from 9.1 percent.
• Goldsboro — 8.7 percent, down from 9.2 percent.
• Greensboro-High Point — 11.1 percent, down from 11.4 percent.
• Greenville — 10.1 percent, down from 10.5 percent.
• Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton — 14.9 percent, down from 15.4 percent.
• Jacksonville — 7.8 percent, down from 8.3 percent.
• Raleigh-Cary — 8.3 percent, down from 8.7 percent.
• Rocky Mount — 13.7 percent, down from 14.0 percent.
• Wilmington — 9.5 percent down from 10.2 percent.
• Winston-Salem — 9.7 percent, down from 10.2 percent.

Across the state, 44 counties reported rates below the statewide 10.5 figure.

22 Comments

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  • affirmativediversity May 29, 2009

    ncwebguy:

    "Last week, the adjusted rate was 10.8 percent, the same as in March."

    Did you happen to read this sentence within this article? Hmmm, I'm think that basically means the rest of this article is a SCAM!

    It all depends on how you like your propaganda...straight up or with a spin!

  • ncwebguy May 29, 2009

    It is a shame that people can't think here.

    Unemployment benefits have been EXTENDED under Obama. Those unemployed and looking for work will stay in the jobless count LONGER. The methodology for counting has not changed. The story states more jobs were created than lost. THAT reduced unemployment in addition to workers falling off the unemployment insurance rolls.

    The same people who are crying wolf about a 25% sales tax are the same ones that told us "Obama is going to take away our guns". Which turned out to be a lie. The freedom of speech is the freedom to lie, but we also have the freedom to stop listening to liars and call them out as the idiots they are.

  • wildervb May 29, 2009

    TarheelsDontLikeEdwards,

    Just giving you the facts I realy don't know the party affiliation of those who site the myth, I'm sure people from both parties do.

    Of course the numbers given aren't 100% accurate, but they do give an indication of trends and how things are going. The way unemployment is measured hasn't changed since Obama was elected. So people sound pretty ignorant when they state that he's manipulating numbers.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 29, 2009

    Wildervb, I remember the democrats quoting this myth as fact when Bush cited lower unemployment numbers as evidence that his tax cuts were improving the economy.

    The Democrats can't have it both ways. It can't be a myth when a republican is president and a fact when a democrat is president.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 29, 2009

    "By the way, its a myth that once your unemployment benefits run out that you're no longer counted as unemployed."

    Wildervb, I remember the democrats quoting this myth as fact when Bush cited lower unemployment numbers as evidence that his tax cuts were improving the economy.

    The Democrats can't have it both ways. It can't be a myth when a republican is president and a myth when a democrat is president.

  • CherryDarling May 29, 2009

    Trend.

  • Caveman93 May 29, 2009

    Hiccup. The dollar is dead, bond vigilantes are coming and the last time I checked home mortgage rates are now up due to the monitizing of our debt. Yeah, blip. Next dumb question please?

  • affirmativediversity May 29, 2009

    really wldervb, its a myth?

    How then does the ESC count the unemployed if not by who is receiving benefits?

    This is a scam made to make all us sheep feel better about the 787 BILLION DOLLARS OBAMA and the DEMOCRATS have WASTED.

    Look out folks because PART II of the plan is to implement a 25% FEDERAL SALES TAX ON EVERYTHING YOU BUY so they can pay for THEIR SPENDING, and oh yeah THE FREE HEALTHCARE!

  • wildervb May 29, 2009

    I'm hoping that its that start of a positive trend, of course it'll probably take 6 months or more to know if this realy is the start of a turn around.

    By the way, its a myth that once your unemployment benefits run out that you're no longer counted as unemployed.

    See Site: http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=3890

  • affirmativediversity May 29, 2009

    "Blip or Trend"...how about "SCAM"!!!!

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