Editor and Publisher
John H. Walker
The unemployment rate dropped in 72 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in August. Edgecombe was not one of them.
The not seasonally adjusted rate for Edgecombe County was 14.5 percent — up two-tenths from June and July, but down 1.2 percentage points from a year ago. Despite the decline from a year ago, the local rate was the third-highest in the state.
According to Department of Commerce statistics, August marked the 51st consecutive month that Edgecombe County’s unemployment rate had been in double digits. The last time the rate was single-digits was May 2008, when it was 9.8 percent.
One highly visible project that was projected to add 116 jobs workforce is the expansion at Superior Essex, located on Anaconda Road.
Superior Essex officials, along with officials from the Town of Tarboro and Edgecombe County, will hold a groundbreaking at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Overall, North Carolina’s statewide unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) was 9.7 percent in August. This was a 0.3 of a percentage-point increase from July’s revised rate of 9.4 percent and refuted Gov. Beverly Perdue’s claims made in a speech at the Democratic National Convention where she said the state’s job situation was improving.
In addition to the 72 counties where the unemployment rate decreased, there were 18 counties showing an increase and 10 where it remained the same. Thirty-nine counties had unemployment rates at or below the state’s 9.7 percent rate.
Edgecombe County’s workforce in August was 25,517 with 3,697 unemployed. In July, the workforce was comprised of 25,734 persons with 3,663 unemployed.
Scotland County recorded August’s highest unemployment rate at 17.2 percent, decreasing 0.5 of a percentage point from the previous month. Graham County had the second-highest rate at 14.8 percent. Currituck County had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, followed by Orange, 6.5 percent; and Chatham, 7.0 percent.
Unemployment rates in area counties included Pitt at 10.3, Martin at 11.9, Nash at 12.0 and Wilson at 13.1 percent.
Unemployment rates decreased in 13 of the state’s 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA).
The Rocky Mount MSA had the highest unemployment rate in August at 12.9 percent. The Durham/Chapel Hill MSA reported the month’s lowest unemployment rate at 7.6 percent, which decreased 0.3 of a percentage point from the previous month.