State jobless rate drops

Apr. 20, 2013 @ 08:14 AM

The unemployment rate for North Carolina decreased for the second consecutive month in March.

According to figures released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Friday, the state’s jobless rate dropped from 9.4 percent in February to 9.2 percent in March.

That was in line with the national jobless rate which dropped 0.1 percent to 7.6 percent for the month.

The rate is the lowest unemployment rate in the state in over a year.

The state’s overall labor force increased by more than 42,000 over the year but had a decrease of more than 10,000 over the month.

“The (overall) rate decreased due to a decrease in the unemployed portion of the labor force,” said Larry Parker, spokesman for the Department of Commerce.

The number of unemployed in the state fell by more than 11,500 in the month and saw a 7,000 decline over the year. While both the labor force and the number of unemployed dropped in March, the decline in unemployed outpaced the drop in the labor force.

Parker said the state has seen job gains over the year.

“In terms of the numbers, job gains have been steady over the past year (+75,300) and over the past two years (+141,100) and since last year, all job sectors have shown gains, except Construction (-5,300),” Parker said.

In February, the jobless rate in Rutherford County declined for the first time since November 2012. Over the month, the unemployment rate dropped to 13.9 percent — a decrease of 0.9 percent from January.

The decrease brought the county out of the list of the five counties with the highest unemployment rate. Rutherford County ranked seventh out of 100 North Carolina counties.

Over the month, the county’s labor force decreased by 300 while the number of those employed increased by six.

Parker said the downward turn in unemployment for February in Rutherford County was largely due to seasonal fluctuation — especially in the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock areas.

The latest news regarding the state’s unemployment rate is unpredictable for the jobless rate in Rutherford County.

“We cannot predict what the impact will be on the county numbers,” Parker said.

The unemployment rates for North Carolina counties will not be released until May 1.