Jobless numbers change slightly in state

Mar. 29, 2013 @ 06:02 AM

Since September 2012, the unemployment rate in North Carolina has had little fluctuation.

According to a report from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Division of Employment Securities, the state jobless rate for February 2013 dropped slightly to 9.4 percent.

Over the last six months, the rate has been between 9.5 and 9.4 percent.

“The rate has been steady but if you look at it over the long-term, we have seen gains in jobs across all the sectors,” said Larry Parker, spokesman for the Division of Employment Securities. “You are starting to see some positive trends in just about every job sector.”

Over the year, the construction job sector saw a decline of 2,800 jobs while mining and logging dropped 100 jobs over the month but added 600 jobs over the month.

Parker said that other sectors have seen significant job gains over the year. The trade sector gained over 17,000 jobs over the year while the professional and business services sector had 13,200 jobs gained. Manufacturing was up 9,500 jobs and leisure and hospitality was up 2,100.

“A lot of these sectors are getting some foothold and still gaining some jobs,” Parker said.

According to the monthly report, the state had a decrease in the labor force of 4,964 but the number of jobless also fell by 6,585. Over the year, both figures had gains.

“The labor force declined a little bit and you had some that were unemployed drop out,” Parker said. “On the flip side, employers did add some jobs in the month.”

Professional and business services gained the most over the month, adding 2,600 jobs while education and health services gained 2,100 jobs. Financial activities, government and information all gained approximately 1,000 jobs in the month.

The next report issued will illustrate unemployment figures for each county. In January, Rutherford County’s unemployment rate was 14.7 percent which was 1.2 percent higher than December figures and 0.7 percent higher than January 2012.

Parker said that, while the state rate has remained static over the last six months, there is still no way of knowing how that will translate to county figures released in April.

“It is difficult to predict what the county numbers will be at this time,” Parker said. “We knew that the job loss we saw in January in the counties were due to holiday employment.

“Economy-wise, coming out of the recession it was everyone’s hope that we would see a lot of gains. There has not been a lot of movement in the labor force numbers. It is going to be a wait-and-see situation.”