Local News

N.C. Joblessness at U.S. Average, but Triangle Does Better

Posted February 20, 2008 7:38 p.m. EST
Updated February 20, 2008 8:22 p.m. EST

— Unemployment is on the rise, and North Carolina is no exception. The latest numbers show the state at the national average of 5 percent unemployment, though the Triangle is slightly lower at 3.9 percent.

Industries that are suffering include manufacturing, construction and landscaping.

For landscape-business owner John Spivey, a slowing economy on top of a drought could have been devastating.

“Thank goodness we're diversified,” Spivey said.

Spivey is working around economic forces and the drought by offering customers landscaping alternatives. Lights, brick walkways and even a trellis keep him in business.

“I hate to think of them as dead items, but they don't take water and they can bring landscaping together,” he said.

With slowdowns in the construction and real estate markets nationwide, a creative business strategy is a must.

Economists suggest it will be needed for at least the first part of the year.

“What happens on Wall Street very much affects Main Street in North Carolina now more than any other time in history,” said David Clegg with the state Employment Security Commission.

North Carolina once was comfortably below the national unemployment rate. But even at the national average of 5 percent, Clegg said the state is still considered economically healthy.

“That's not necessarily a bad thing. Five percent in transition at any time means there are available workers for available employers,” he said.

The average time spent on unemployment is benefits statewide is 13.6 weeks, according to the commission.

In 30 years of working around the challenges of business, Spivey said he has never had a lay-off and employs six people.

Many industries are still booming in spite of a slow economy. The Employment Security Commission said pharmaceuticals, banking and the service industry continue to grow at a rapid pace.