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For third straight month, Stanly’s unemployment remains the same

Stanly County’s unemployment rate was 5 percent for December, marking the third straight month the rate has essentially remained the same, according to new county-specific data from the state’s Department of Commerce, which was released Wednesday.

Stanly had 1,576 people unemployed in December, which translates to a 5.1 percent unemployment rate; the rate in November was also 5.1 percent with 1,570 people without jobs.

There were 30,717 people with jobs in December, virtually identical to the 30,721 people employed the month prior.

Stanly was one of 17 counties that saw its rate remain unchanged in December. The unemployment rates increased in 55 counties. The overwhelming majority of counties (91) have rates between 5 and 10 percent, while only eight counties have rates below or at 5 percent. Only one county, Scotland, has a rate higher than 10 percent.

Stanly’s unemployment rate continues to match up favorably against the rest of the state, ranking 13th out of the 100 counties, up from 16th the prior month, and is lower than every nearby county in the Charlotte metropolitan region, except Union, which was at 5 percent.

In the state’s list of unemployment rates for micropolitan areas across North Carolina — geographic areas focused on an urban cluster with a population of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 — Albemarle also came in at 5.1 percent.

Stanly County Economic Development Director Candice Lowder said a few weeks ago that with more people getting vaccinated each week, the hope is that the economy will improve as the new year progresses.

“I believe as we move toward herd immunity with vaccine distribution and continued research around prevention, transmission, and therapies, consumer confidence will rebound and citizens will resume recreational activities, travel and social events outside the home that will support our local restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and retailers,” Lowder said. “I remain optimistic that over the coming months and years, we will regain the economic equilibrium across sectors we enjoyed before the pandemic.”

The state’s seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, remaining unchanged for the third month in a row.

The federal employment rate stayed the same at 6.7 percent. The economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By comparison, in November, the economy added 245,000 jobs.

Almost 55,000 North Carolinians filed COVID-19 related initial claims in December, a significant increase from the roughly 24,000 who filed in November. More than 3.3 million claims have been filed in the state since March 15, 2020.

The number of people in Stanly who filed initial claims increased for the month. The county had 259 people file COVID-19 related initial unemployment insurance claims (out of 444 total initial claims) in December compared to the 113 who filed COVID-19 claims in November. There are 300 continued COVID-19 related claims for the month.

As in past months, the people who filed the claims in Stanly continue to be predominantly younger, with those ages 25 to 34, 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 accounting for the majority of all claims.

The industries most impacted by the pandemic were unclassified/unknown with 121 claims, manufacturing with 69 claims and professional and business services and leisure and hospitality tied with 52 claims each.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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