Business

Unemployment drops across N.C.

Posted April 23, 2010 10:37 a.m. EDT
Updated April 23, 2010 7:36 p.m. EDT

— The unemployment rate dropped in all 100 North Carolina counties in March, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Security Commission.

“News that all North Carolina counties experienced a decrease in the local unemployment rate is certainly welcome, but we still have challenges ahead of us,” ESC Chairman Lynn Holmes said in a statement. “The ESC is focusing even more resources to help our unemployed customers get back into jobs.”

ESC spokesman Larry Parker said the state saw unemployment rates drop in 99 counties in March and April 2006, but officials haven't yet found another month when the rate dropped in all 100 counties.

Parker cautioned that the county rates aren't seasonally adjusted, and seasonal effects could cause some fluctuations, so it's better to look at county data over several months as a trend instead of month-to-month changes.

Thirty-nine counties were at or below the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate of 10.9 percent in March, although 87 counties still have double-digit rates.

In Wake County, the jobless rate dropped from 9.2 percent in February to 8.6 percent. Durham County's rate fell from 8.5 percent to 8 percent, while Orange County, which continues to have the state's lowest unemployment rate, dropped from 6.9 percent to 6.4 percent.

The number of workers employed increased in March by 66,804, to 4,058,349, while the number of unemployed decreased by 38,401, to 496,734 workers.

March unemployment rates for metro areas statewide are as follows:

Asheville – 9.4 percent, down from 10.2 percent in February

Burlington – 12.1 percent, down from 13.2 percent

Charlotte-Gastonia – 11.9 percent, down from 12.8 percent

Durham-Chapel Hill – 7.8 percent, down from 8.4 percent

Fayetteville – 9.1 percent, down from 9.7 percent

Goldsboro – 9.2 percent, down from 9.9 percent

Greensboro-High Point – 11.5 percent, down from 12.4 percent

Greenville – 10.3 percent, down from 10.7 percent

Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton – 14.5 percent, down from 15.8 percent

Jacksonville – 8 percent, down from 8.6 percent

Raleigh-Cary – 8.9 percent, down from 9.6 percent

Rocky Mount – 13.5 percent, down from 14.7 percent

Wilmington – 10.5 percent, down from 11.6 percent

Winston-Salem – 10.1 percent, down from 11.1 percent