Business

Triangle jobless ranks swell in February

Posted April 1, 2009 10:14 a.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2009 11:06 a.m. EDT

— Unemployment in Triangle metro areas jumped by nearly a full percentage point in February, according to data released Wednesday by the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

Raleigh-Cary’s jobless ranks swelled to 8.8 percent, from 7.9 percent in January. In Durham-Chapel Hill, unemployment rose to 8 percent, from 7.3 percent the previous month.

Unemployment also jumped in Fayetteville, Rocky Mount, Goldsboro and Greenville.

Statewide, unemployment rates increased in 99 of 100 counties – Caswell County was the lone exception, with its rate dropping from 13.2 to 13 percent.

Unemployment in North Carolina is the highest in years, at 11.3 percent, as the impact of the global recession continues to deepen.

“Virtually every job sector in North Carolina has had some loss because of the national recession,” ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr. said in a statement.

The number of non-farm jobs in Durham-Chapel Hill increased by 800 jobs in February.

Top growth areas included government (1,300), education and health services (800), leisure and hospitality (600) and professional and business services (400). However, those gains were offset by the loss of 1,100 trade, transportation and utilities and 1,000 manufacturing jobs.

An overall increase in the number of people seeking unemployment benefits drove the metro area’s jobless rate higher despite the increase in non-farm jobs.

During the past year, Durham-Chapel Hill has lost 2,200, or 0.8 percent, of its non-farm jobs.

In Raleigh-Cary, a net 700 non-farm jobs disappeared in February, led by a drop of 1,000 trade, transportation and utilities and 900 manufacturing positions. Education and health services added 900 jobs.

In the past year, Raleigh-Cary has been hit by 16,500, or 3.2 percent, losses in non-farm employment.

The jobless rate in the state’s metropolitan areas were:

  • Asheville – 9.7 percent, up from 8.7 percent in January.
  • Burlington – 12 percent, up from 11 percent.
  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC – 11.7 percent, up from 10.5 percent.
  • Durham-Chapel Hill – 8 percent, up from 7.3 percent.
  • Fayetteville – 9.5 percent, up from 8.8 percent.
  • Goldsboro – 9.7 percent, up from 9.1 percent.
  • Greensboro-High Point – 11.6 percent, up from 10.6 percent.
  • Greenville – 10.4 percent, up from 9.8 percent.
  • Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton – 15.7 percent, up from 13.6 percent.
  • Jacksonville – 9.1 percent, up from 8.4 percent.
  • Raleigh-Cary – 8.8 percent, up from 7.9 percent.
  • Rocky Mount – 14.4 percent, up from 13.2 percent.
  • Wilmington – 10.8 percent up from 9.9 percent.
  • Winston-Salem – 10.4 percent, up from 9.2 percent.

Carey had some good news for people who are out of work.

“Over the course of the next week we will begin paying an additional $25 a week to those who are eligible for unemployment benefits,” he said.

The funds were coming through the federal economic stimulus package and were retroactive to Feb. 28, according to the ESC.

County-by-county unemployment rates for February and January in the WRAL viewing area were as follows:

  • Wake, 8.3 from 7.4
  • Durham, 8.0 from 7.3
  • Orange, 6.5, up from 5.8
  • Cumberland, 9.6 from 8.9
  • Chatham, 8.5 from 7.7
  • Edgecombe, 16.9 from 15.5
  • Franklin, 11.0 from 10.0
  • Granville, 10.5 from 9.4
  • Halifax, 14.8 from 13.5
  • Harnett, 11.8 from 10.7
  • Hoke, 9.0 from 8.2
  • Johnston, 10.7 from 9.8
  • Lee, 15.1 from 13.1
  • Moore, 11.0 from 10.0
  • Nash, 13.2 from 12.0
  • Person, 12.6 from 11.8
  • Sampson, 9.2 from 8.6
  • Vance, 14.4 from 12.9
  • Warren, 15.2 from 12.9
  • Wayne, 9.7 from 9.1
  • Wilson, 12.5 from 11.6