12.01.2009 Policy Points

Local Employment Conditions: Oct.

October saw few positive changes in local employment conditions across North Carolina. Last month, 64 counties posted double-digit rates of unemployment; of those, 30 had unemployment rates of at least 12 percent.

In October, every part of the state experienced weak labor markets. Unemployment rates exceeded 10 percent in 64 counties, and in 30 counties, at least 12 percent of the labor force was jobless and actively seeking work. County unemployment rates ranged from 6 percent in Currituck County to 17.2 percent in Scotland County.

Unemployment also remained at elevated levels in all 14 of the state’s metropolitan areas. Six metros posted double-digit unemployment rates. The Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir area had the highest unemployment rate (14.5 percent) followed by Rocky Mount (13.7 percent). The lowest metro unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in Durham-Chapel Hill.

Labor markets also were weak in the state’s three largest metro areas. In October, the unemployment rate stood at 12.7 percent in Charlotte, 11.1 percent in the Piedmont Triad, and 8.4 percent in the Research Triangle. Compared to one year ago, all three major regions had unemployment rates that were at least 1.5 times greater, along with smaller labor forces. Moreover, much of the job creation that has occurred in these areas over the past year has been in the public sector and the education and health care – fields intimately tied to public financing.

Click here to read South by North Strategies’ analysis of the October employment report.

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