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Jobless rate drops in area

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BY COREY DAVIS
Staff Writer

Monday, February 5, 2018

The latest figures from the N.C. Department of Commerce report a drop in the local unemployment rate in December.

Edgecombe and Nash counties were two of 56 North Carolina counties that experienced a decrease in the jobless rate. Edgecombe County’s unemployment rate went down a tad from 7.6 percent in November to 7.5 percent in December, while the county’s rate was also lower than the 8.1 percent in December 2016.

Nash County also saw a decline in the unemployment rate going from 5.9 percent in November to 5.7 percent in December. It’s down from the county’s 6.2 percent jobless rate in December 2016. The Rocky Mount Metropolitan Statistical Area that’s comprised of Nash and Edgecombe counties experienced a slight reduction in its unemployment rate in December at 6.3 percent from the previous month’s rate of 6.5 percent. The rate is also lower than the 6.9 percent rate in December 2016.

Figures also show that while Edgecombe County has the third highest unemployment rate, the labor force rose to 22, 637 in December — up from 22,481 in November — and the number of people unemployed dropped to 1,691 in December from the previous month’s total of 1,721.

Nash County has the 21st highest unemployment in the state. The county’s labor force increased to 43,499 in December from 43,959 in November. The amount of people unemployed in December was 2,462, down from 2,591 in November.

The Rocky Mount metro area’s labor force dropped from 66,596 in November to 65,980 in December, however, there was a drop in the number of people unemployed to 4,153 in December from 4,312 in November.

Nonetheless, Rocky Mount continued to have the highest unemployment rate among the state’s 15 metro area, which is also the case with the combined statistical area of neighboring Rocky Mount-Wilson-Roanoke Rapids’ unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, which is lower than the 6.8 percent in November.

Over the month, net industry employment increased in five of 15 metro areas, however, Rocky Mount experienced a net industry employment decrease of 300 jobs over the month with a loss of 100 jobs in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and government. 

Net industry employment increased in 10 of the 15 metro areas over the year, but in Rocky Mount there has been 1,000 jobs losses over the year. However, on the bright side, there has been 300 job gains in professional and business service and 200 job gains in education and health services over the year in Rocky Mount.

Carisa Rudd, business services manager for the Turning Point Workforce Development Board, said there are several companies hiring in the Twin Counties and surrounding region, including recently announced hirings at Bridgestone, Berry Global, GCA Services, Kennametal, Open Fields Assisted Living, Best Rentals and Le’ Chris Behavioral Health.

She added staffing agencies are hiring for numerous companies in advanced manufacturing in the Twin Counties and surrounding counties. Rudd said the majority are hiring for full-time positions and some temporary to permanent positons.

“They’re utilizing staffing agencies to do direct hiring and making contact with our NC Works Career Centers to capture jobseekers that have made visits to the offices,” Rudd said. “Health care and advanced manufacturing remain at the top of the lists of job opportunities, however, small businesses have made a comeback and people are also seeing the benefit of entrepreneurship and investing in our local smaller shops.”

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