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January Unemployment Rates Rise In 91 Of 100 N.C. Counties

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Unemployment rates rose in 91 N.C. counties in January, according to the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina (ESC). Rates fell in five counties and were unchanged in the remaining four. The rates in this release are not seasonally adjusted.

Swain County had the state's highest unemployment rate in January, at 18.3 percent, compared to 14.8 percent in December.

Layoffs in that county within the services and trade industries - hotels, shops, and entertainment facilities - contributed to the spike.

Orange County had the state's lowest unemployment rate in January at 2.7 percent, up from 2.5 percent the previous month.

The largest increase from December to January in the unemployment rate occurred in Tyrrell County, with the rate moving to 15.4 percent from 10.7 percent. This was due mainly to the slowdown in the tourist-related service industry, mostly hotels, that occurs each winter in this resort area.

Of the 187,624 initial claims filed statewide, 151,076 were attached claims. Some of the industries hardest hit in January included textile mill products (41,196); furniture and fixtures (18,469); construction and special trade contractors (16,117); heavy construction (11,409); and apparel and other finished products made from fabrics and similar materials (8,052).

The five counties receiving the highest amount in unemployment insurance benefits in December were: Wake, $9.4 million; Mecklenburg, $8.9 million; Guilford, $5.9 million; Gaston, $4.2 million; and Catawba, $3.9 million. More than $108 million in benefits was paid statewide in January.

The December 2001 rates in this report are benchmarked. Each January, the national Bureau of Labor Statistics benchmarks theprevious year's monthly state and county unemployment rates, using new data gathered from all business establishments in North Carolina.

With the addition of the 2000 census data, this benchmarking process gives a better overall picture of the state's employment situation throughout the previous year.

Unemployment rates for the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSAs) for January, compared with December, were:

  • Asheville: 4.7 percent, up from 3.8 percent
  • Charlotte/Gastonia/RockHill, NC/SC: 6.5 percent, up from 5.7 percent
  • Fayetteville: 6.6 percent, up from 6.0 percent
  • Goldsboro: 6.0 percent, up from 5.3 percent
  • Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point: 6.0 percent, up from 5.5 percent
  • Greenville: 6.2 percent, up from 6.1 percent
  • Hickory/Morganton/Lenoir: 8.6 percent, up from 8.1 percent
  • Jacksonville: 5.6 percent, up from 5.1 percent
  • Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill: 4.7 percent, up from 4.2 percent
  • Rocky Mount: 10.0 percent, up from 9.5 percent
  • Wilmington: 7.0 percent, up from 6.6 percent
  • Not seasonally-adjusted unemployment rates show employment and unemployment conditions at the time the data were collected. The rates do not take into account seasonal fluctuations and generally are not used in determining the significance of economic trends.

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