Unemployment rate on rise in Triangle

Posted March 20, 2012 10:39 a.m. EDT


— The Triangle's jobless rate jumped to 8.5 percent in January as workers hired for the holiday season returned to the employment sidelines, state officials said Tuesday.

The unemployment rate for the Raleigh-Durham area was 8 percent in December and 8.2 percent in January 2011.

“Seasonal losses in retail as well as the leisure and hospitality sector contributed to gains in the unemployment rates,” state Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll said in a statement. “While rates were up in January, over-the-year nearly half of the state’s counties unemployment rates decreased or remained the same."

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 10.5 percent in January.

The number of workers employed statewide decreased by 3,265 in January, to 4,165,580. The number of people unemployed increased 13,681, to 488,427.

The Raleigh-Cary area lost 7,800 jobs in January, according to the state Division of Employment Security. The trade, transportation and utilities sector shed almost half of those, while the leisure and hospitality and professional and business services sectors each lost at least 2,200 jobs.

In the Durham-Chapel Hill area, the public sector accounted for about a third of the 4,200 jobs lost in the month. The manufacturing sector, along with trade, transportation and utilities and mining, logging and construction, lost at least 700 jobs each.

The Fayetteville (2,500), Rocky Mount (1,300) and Goldsboro (500) metro areas also shed jobs in January.

Unemployment rates increased in 95 of North Carolina's 100 counties in January. Wake County's rate rose from 7.7 percent in December to 8.1 percent, while Durham County's rate went from 7.5 to 8.2 percent.

Orange County still has the state's lowest unemployment at 6.4 percent, but even that was up from 6.1 percent in December. Cumberland County's rate went from 9.8 percent to 10.3 percent, while Johnston County's rate increased to 9.6 percent from 8.9 percent.