Stanly hits lowest unemployment rate in more than three years

Stanly County’s November unemployment rate was 3.1 percent, according to new county-specific data from the N.C. Department of Commerce released earlier this month, a decrease from October, when the rate was 3.4 percent.

It’s the county’s lowest rate in more than three years. The last time Stanly had a rate that low was all the way back in October 2018, when it was also 3.1 percent, according to an analysis of prior year’s data from the Department of Commerce.

A total of 30,075 people were employed for November, while only 928 people were unemployed, the first time the tally has been below 1,000 in more than a year.

Stanly appears to be in better shape now than last November, when the rate was 5.4 percent and more than 1,550 people were without jobs.

“Economists predicted early on in the pandemic that its effects on the economy would gradually improve over a period of 18-24 months,” Stanly County Economic Development Commission Director Candice Lowder said. “Employers continue to adapt to meet employee expectations in order to recruit and retain talent.”

“However,” she added, “as encouraging as it is, a low unemployment rate is only one factor in the employment equation. The public and private sector are working together to develop strategies that will attract new workers, and induce those workers who left the workplace due to uncertainties around the pandemic, back into the workforce.”

Ninety-two counties, including Stanly, had rates below 5 percent in November, up five from the previous month.

The number of workers employed across the state increased by about 12,000 over the month to roughly 4.9 million, while those unemployed decreased by about 16,000 to roughly 171,000.

The federal unemployment rate in October fell to 4.2 percent from 4.6 percent in October, and the economy added only 210,000 jobs, down from 531,000 jobs added the month prior, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Almost 2,300 North Carolinians filed COVID-19 related initial claims in November, a decrease from the 4,500 who filed the month before. More than 3.8 million claims have been filed in the state since March 15, 2020.

Stanly County had only eight people file COVID-19 related initial unemployment insurance claims (out of 156 total initial claims) in November, a slight decease from the 21 who filed COVID-19 claims the month before and the lowest since the pandemic began. There are 69 continued COVID-19 related claims for the month.

The industries most impacted by the pandemic in Stanly were educational and health services with 33 claims and trade, transportation and utilities and manufacturing each with 31 claims.