Triangle unemployment jumps to highest levels in three years
Posted June 27, 2008 12:01 p.m. EDT
Updated June 27, 2008 7:09 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Unemployment in the Raleigh-Cary and Durham metropolitan areas surged in May to the highest levels in three years despite an increase in non-farm jobs.
Raleigh-Cary’s jobless rate climbed to 4.6 percent last month from 4 percent in April. The May rate is the highest since 4.7 percent reported in February 2005, according to statistics from the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.
The Durham area’s rate hit 4.7 percent, up from 4.1 percent in April. The May rate is the highest since 4.8 percent in July of 2005.
Even though both areas added 2,400 or more non-farm jobs, those gains were more than offset by more people entering the labor force or farm workers, self-employed and proprietors seeking work, said ESC spokesperson Larry Parker.
“Our offices are still getting job offers, but many employers are wanting workers with college degrees,” Parker said. “We’re getting more traffic in our offices. More people are looking for work, but there are a smaller amount of jobs for lower-qualified workers.”
The Raleigh-Cary workforce increased by more than 2,000 in May to 548,527 from April. However, the number of people employed in all jobs, including farm, dipped by 1,400 to 523,257. The number of people seeking work increased by more than 4,000 to 25,270.
In the Durham metro area, the total number of people working dipped by only 56 to 245,603. However, the labor force jumped by more than 1,500, and those seeking work climbed by some 1,800.
The jump in local unemployment reflects state-wide data released last week. The North Carolina jobless rate hit 5.8 percent, the highest rate since 2004.
Raleigh-Cary (which includes Wake, Johnston, Franklin counties) and Durham (which includes Durham, Orange, Chatham, Person counties) metro areas were not alone. The jobless rate increased in all 14 metro statistical areas.
Rocky Mount reported the highest rate at 8.4 percent, up nearly a point from April.
The jobless rate in Fayetteville, meanwhile, hit 6 percent.
Driving more people into the work force included a number of factors, such as increasing food and energy prices, teachers and school district workers laid off for the summer, and a continuing influx of new residents, Parker noted.
In the less volatile non-farm job segment, Durham added 2,400 jobs in May and has added 9,300 jobs over the past year. Raleigh-Cary, meanwhile, added 2,600 jobs in May and has increased its job total by 16,100 over 12 months.
The unemployment rates in May by metro areas:
- Asheville — 4.8 %, up from 4.1 % in April.
- Burlington — 6.0 %, up from 5.4 %.
- Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC — 5.8 %, up from 5.2 %.
- Durham (Durham, Orange, Chatham, Person counties) — 4.7 %, up from 4.1 %.
- Fayetteville — 6.0 %, up from 5.3 %.
- Goldsboro — 5.6 %, up from 5.0 %.
- Greensboro-High Point — 6.0 %, up from 5.3 %.
- Greenville — 6.5 %, up from 5.6 %.
- Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton — 7.0 %, up from 6.3 %.
- Jacksonville — 5.4 %, up from 4.8 %.
- Raleigh-Cary (Wake, Franklin, Johnston counties) — 4.6 %, up from 4.0 %.
- Rocky Mount — 8.4 %, up from 7.5 %.
- Wilmington — 5.1 %, up from 4.5 %.
- Winston-Salem — 5.5 %, up from 4.9 %.
- County unemployment rates in the WRAL viewing area and change from April:
- Chatham: 4,7 %, up from 4.2 %
- Cumberland: 6.1 %, up from 5.3 %
- Durham: 4.7 %, up from 4.1 %
- Edgecombe: 9.8 %, up from 8.9 %
- Franklin: 6 %, up from 5.3 %
- Granville: 6.3 %, up from 5.8 %
- Halifax: 8 %, up from 7.1 %
- Harnett: 5.9 %, up from 5.2 %
- Hoke: 5.7 %, up from 5 %
- Johnston: 5.3 %, up from 4.7 %
- Lee: 6.6 %, up from 5.7 %
- Moore: 5.5 %, up from 4.8 %
- Nash: 7.6 %, up from 6.8 %
- Orange: 4.0 %, up from 3.3 %
- Person: 7 %, up from 6.6 %
- Sampson: 4.9 %, up from 4.4 %
- Vance: 8.2 %, up from 7.8 %
- Wake: 4.4 %, up from 3.8 %
- Wayne: 5.6 %, up from 5 %
- Warren: 7.9 %, up from 7.2 %
- Wilson: 8 %, up from 7.2 %