Triangle jobless rate surges to 8.5 percent in June

Loss of 4,600 government jobs helps drive unemployment up from 7.8 percent in June. Raleigh-Cary metro area actually adds jobs. Across the state, all metro areas report higher jobless rates.

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The loss of 4,600 government jobs helped drive the Triangle’s unemployment rate up nearly a full percentage point to 8.5 percent in June. That's the highest rate since July of last year.

The grim news comes from the latest jobless report from the North Carolina Employment Security Commission on Friday.

Triangle metro unemployment was 7.8 percent in May. A year ago the rate was 8.7 percent. 

The seasonally adjusted rate as provided by East Carolina University for June was 7.8 percent, up from 7.6 percent in May. Economists consider seasonally adjusted numbers based on such things as weather and seasonal employment as a more accurate barometer of the labor situation. A year ago the seasonally adjusted rate for the Triangle was 8.1 percent.

Losses in the public sector were especially heavy in Durham-Chapel Hill, which shed 3,200 government positions. That was a 5.6 percent jump from the previous month.

Government jobs declined by 1,400 in Raleigh-Cary, a 1.5 percent increase.

Statewide unemployment is 9.9 percent. The national rate is 9.2 percent.

The ESC said it was still checking to see just how many of the job losses were due to state budget cutbacks and typical reductions at schools and universities for the summer.

“We are seeing a larger number than we typically see at this time of year,” said ESC spokesperson Larry Parker.” That will take some time” to determine what impact budget cuts are having.

The number of people working in Raleigh-Cary actually increased by 500.

However, the number of initial claims for unemployment grew to 3,546 in June from 3,322 in May.

As more people seek employment and are counted again as part of the total work force, the unemployment rate can increase even if more people have jobs. The unemployment rate is calculated on the number of people working, reciving unemployment benefits and seeking work.

Unemployment in the Rocky Mount metro area is the state’s worst at 13.7 percent.

Despite the increase, Durham-Chapel Hill has the lowest metro area jobless rate.

Fayetteville’s jobless rate was 10.1 percent; in Goldsboro, 9.2 percent; and in Greenville 10.8 percent.

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