The holiday season may be approaching, but there are few glad tidings from the N.C. Employment Security Commission, which reported on Nov. 21 that the state’s unemployment rate hit 7 percent in October. That compares to a 6.5 percent rate nationally — the highest in 14 years.
Employment in North Carolina did increase by 5,076 workers in October. It was the second consecutive monthly employment increase for the state and third in the last four months. However, the number of unemployed workers in North Carolina remains at an all-time high.
“There was a slight increase in unemployment [from 6.9 percent in September], but we are encouraged by the increase in employment for the third time in four months,” said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. “Both global and national trends continue to impact the state’s economy and employment picture. The job market throughout the state remains a very competitive one and we see that in our offices every day.”
With the increase, seasonally adjusted employment is at 4,264,519. Unemployment increased by 912 workers, to 318,997. Since this time last year, unemployment has increased by 106,843 people. The labor force, over the year, has increased by 52,873 people. Employment is down by 53,970 workers since October 2007. The state rate in October 2007 was 4.7 percent.
Seasonally adjusted, total non-farm-industry employment, as gathered through the monthly survey, decreased by 5,400 jobs over the past month, and has decreased by 20,400 since October 2007 to 4,148,200. The largest over-the-month increase occurred in Educational and Health Services (+3,300). The largest decrease was in Other Services (-5,300) and Manufacturing (-4,300).
County and metro area unemployment figures are set to be released Dec. 2.
— Hal L. Millard, staff writer