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Stanly County unemployment decreases to 4 percent

After being stagnant for many months, Stanly County’s unemployment dropped by a full percentage point in March, according to new county-specific data from the state’s Department of Commerce, which was released early this month.

Stanly had 1,224 unemployed in March, which translates to a 4.1 percent unemployment rate; the rate in February was 5.2 percent, with 1,573 people without jobs. The county’s rate is also quite higher than the state’s rate of 5.2 percent.

This marks the biggest monthly decrease since last August, when the rate fell to 5.5 percent from 7.2 percent the month before. The rate had been hovering around 5 percent since last October.

A total of 29,984 people were employed as of March, a slight decrease from the 30,055 employed in February.

An encouraging sign is that Stanly’s rate is virtually identical to last March’s, which was 4.0 percent and was not yet influenced by the pandemic. That was also the last time the rate has been as low as it is now.

“The unemployment rate continues to drop as government restrictions are loosened and businesses slowly return to pre-pandemic operations,” said EDC Director Candice Lowder. “In addition to the workers returning to their jobs in hospitality and tourism, several of our employers are adding jobs in the manufacturing sector.

”I’m optimistic that we will very soon return to our preCOVID unemployment rate of less than 3.5 percent,” Lowder added.

Unemployment rates in all 100 NC counties decreased in March. A total of 69 counties, including Stanly, had rates below 5 percent in March, up from 26 counties in February. No counties had rates above 10 percent for March.

The federal employment rate was 6.0 percent in March, a slight decline from the 6.2 percent in February, while the economy added 916,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Almost 45,000 North Carolinians filed COVID-19 related initial claims in March, more than double the roughly 22,000 who filed in February. About 3.6 million claims have been filed in the state since March 15, 2020.

Stanly County had 195 people file COVID-19 related initial unemployment insurance claims (out of 374 total initial claims) in March, an increase from the 140 who filed COVID-19 claims the month before. There are 166 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 manufacturing with 65 claims, trade, transportation and utilities with 64 claims and educational and health services with 57 claims.

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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