County jobless rate declines

Still 8th highest in the state
May. 02, 2013 @ 05:23 AM

Rutherford County’s unemployment rate dropped to 12.6 percent marking the lowest unemployment rate for the county since November 2012.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reported Wednesday the March rate in the county dropped for the second consecutive month.

The rate — a 1.2 percent decrease from February — left Rutherford County with the eighth-highest jobless rate in the state — up from last month’s 7th-place ranking. The decrease was also one of the highest decreases in the state for the month.

In March, Rutherford County reported 3,372 unemployed.

According to Larry Parker, spokesman for the Commerce Department, Rutherford County gained 166 jobs over the month and lost 357 off the unemployment rolls.

“It appears to be mostly seasonal hiring at this point,” Parker said.

He said because of seasonal patterns playing a large role in employment estimates, the over-the-year statistics are more key in determining the overall employment picture for the county.

Over the year, the jobless rate for Rutherford County dropped 0.6 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate dropped in 99 counties and remained level in one in March.

As previously reported, the statewide unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent for March.

Polk County’s jobless rate decreased to 7 percent and Cleveland County dropped to 9.9 percent — marking the first time that county rated below 10 percent this year.

McDowell County dropped over-the-year to 10.6 percent while Buncombe County decreased to 7 percent for the month.

Orange County stayed steady as the county with the lowest unemployment rate at 5.6 percent. Chatham (6.2 percent), Henderson (6.7 percent), Wake (6.9 percent) and Durham (6.9 percent) rounded out the top five counties with the lowest unemployment rate.

Graham County (17.8 percent) remained the county with the largest unemployment followed by Swain (16.7 percent), Scotland (16.1 percent), Dare (14.8 percent) and Edgecombe (13.9 percent).

Parker said that the downward trend in unemployment in the county for March cannot be used as an indicator for upcoming months.

“Unfortunately, we cannot forecast a trend for the upcoming months,” Parker said.

The statewide jobless figures for April are scheduled to be released on May 17.

Department of Employment Security: