By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 —
What was thought to be a promising summer for the prospects of increased employment for Stanly County, the region and the state has instead turned into a perplexing situation.
Unemployment inched up for the third month in a row in Stanly County and the state as 81 of the 100 counties in the state saw a spike in jobless claims, according to figures released Tuesday by the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division.
Stanly County’s unemployment rate inched up .2 percent to 9.0, the highest since February’s 9.3 percent. The county’s numbers have increased .6 percent since April’s 8.4. The state unemployment rate moved from 8.9 to 9.3 and is once again one of the highest in the country.
“Honestly, I’m a bit surprised at these figures. I did not expect them to go up and, as for the third straight month they’ve gone up,” said Donnie Mann, acting manager of the Division of Workforce Solutions in Albemarle.
“I also see it in a number of counties as well. I can’t really put my finger on what’s happening with that.”
Mann said it’s possible some of the seasonal employment expectations in the county didn’t pan out as expected. The number of employed in the state decreased slightly from 30,954 to 30,742, according to the state numbers. The number of unemployed changed from 2,736 to 2,762.
“This is just speculation, but maybe some of the seasonal employment did not last as long as employers had anticipated. The work just wasn’t there,” Mann said.
“As I went back and looked at our job orders for June, we didn’t really see an increase. It stayed pretty steady, and we didn’t see a decrease.”
Mann said job orders for July were higher, a potential positive sign for unemployment numbers next month. The state’s recent decision to cut unemployment benefits as well as the maximum number of weeks someone can receive unemployment funds could have a hand in that as people give it a try to find work in what has been a 5-6 year struggle with the economy.
“We did see an increase in the job orders in July. Hopefully it’ll look better for July,” Mann said.
“I don’t have any numbers to back it up, but we’ve heard speculation the labor force has increased. There are actually more people in the market seeking employment, which may be affecting the rate.
“It’s not going up by leaps and bounds, it’s a slight increase. That could have a bearing on the numbers we are seeing.”
Among the 26 micropolitan statistical areas in the state, Albemarle ranks sixth in unemployment, besting areas such as Laurinburg (16.2 percent), Lumberton (13.0), Rockingham (12.3), Salisbury (9.5), Shelby (10.5) and Thomasville-Lexington (9.8).
Stanly County also ranks 33rd among the state’s 100 counties in unemployment, ahead of counties in the area such as Anson (11.5, 83rd), Richmond (12.3, 88th), Rowan (9.5, 45th), Davidson (9.8, 48th) and Mecklenburg (9.4, 43rd). Other counties in the area included Union (8.0, 13th) and Cabarrus (8.8, 25th).
Unemployment is the highest in the state again in Scotland County (16.2 percent) and is the lowest again in Currituck (5.8).
To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or email at jason@stanlynewspress .com.
January 10.1 30,708 3,101
February 9.3 30,495 2,856
March 8.8 30,569 2,677
April 8.4 30,479 2,561
May 8.8 30,954 2,736
June 9.0 30,742 2,762
Source: N.C. Department of Commerce's Labor and Economic Analysis Division