Pink slips pile highest in Edgecombe County
Posted January 8, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009
Rocky Mount, N.C. — All 100 North Carolina counties have experienced a surge in unemployment, with 17 posting double-digit jobless rates in November. Edgecombe County had the highest number of people looking for work at 13.3 percent.
Kelvin Lyons is among those out of job. He said he makes several trips a week to the JobLink Career Center at Rocky Mount's Employment Security Commission office.
“Basically, so far, it seems like we can't get a job anywhere,” Lyons said.
Lyons was laid off from his welding job in October. He said he has filled out numerous applications and interviewed with several companies.
“Once you get laid off, it feels like everything's gone that you've ever had,” Lyons said.
Among metropolitan areas of the state, Rocky Mount had the highest November unemployment rate at 10.9 percent. Both Wake and Durham counties reported 5.8 percent unemployment, while Cumberland County posted a 7.6 percent unemployment rate. Johnston and Franklin counties each had unemployment rates of 7.4 percent.
Statewide, $127.6 million in unemployment benefits was paid to 141,298 people, compared with $119.2 million to 123,207 people in October.
“The number of people coming in has probably been double, or possibly triple, from what we normally get,” said Jim Turner, a claims supervisor with the Employment Security Commission in Rocky Mount.
Turner has handled more than 2,000 unemployment claims over the last three months. He said most of the job losses are within the service and construction industries.
“More people are coming in, then the jobs are being filled,” Turner said.
The economic downtown has also caused a decline of donations to charitable organizations.
“We've had so many coming in that it has been overwhelming,” said Faye Strickland, with the Christ Centered Assistance Network.
Strickland's faith-based group helps Rocky Mount residents in need pay their rent and utility bills. So many people started lining up outside the 916 Branch St. facility for help that they are now seeing clients only by appointment.
“It is just really hard to turn people down. We just don't have enough money to go around,” Strickland said.
Charities licensed by the state collected almost $26 million less in the year ended in June than in the previous year.