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Unemployment edges up to 13.1 percent

College and high school students seeking summer jobs nudged Wilson County’s unemployment rate to 13.1 percent in June, state officials said Tuesday.

Unemployment saw a slight bump from the 13 percent reported in May, giving Wilson County the state’s fifth-highest unemployment rate. Joblessness rose in 81 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in June, which officials say follows a seasonal trend.

"Summers are typically the time when people enter the labor force looking for temporary work, so you’re going to see that fluctuation,” N.C. Division of Employment Security spokesman Larry Parker said.

Figures released Tuesday show that Wilson County’s labor force increased to 41,893 workers. The number of employed workers rose by 202 and the number of unemployed job-seekers increased by 92.

"Over the month, the labor force increased, the number of people employed increased and the number of people unemployed increased,” Parker said. "That’s why there was really no significant change for the rate this month.”

One-tenth of a percent isn’t considered a statistically significant increase, but Wilson County saw a jump from 12.3 percent in April to a full 13 percent in May.

Neighboring counties fared worse than Wilson in June, with unemployment jumping from 12.1 percent to 12.6 percent in Nash, rising from 14.1 percent to 14.5 percent in Edgecombe, climbing from 9.1 percent to 9.5 percent in Pitt, rising from 9 percent to 9.2 percent in Wayne and increasing from 10.4 percent to 10.7 percent in Greene.

Edgecombe County has the third-highest unemployment rate in North Carolina, state data shows. Wilson County had the fourth-highest rate in May, but Halifax County edged past with an increase from 12.9 percent to 13.5 percent in June.

Scotland County in south-central North Carolina had the state’s highest unemployment at 16.2 percent. Currituck County in the state’s northeastern corner had the lowest jobless number, with 5.8 percent of the labor force out of work.

Among North Carolina’s metropolitan areas, Rocky Mount had the highest unemployment at 13.3 percent and Asheville saw the lowest at 7.1 percent.

Though Wilson County’s official unemployment rate stands just above 13 percent, analysts say functional unemployment may be more than twice as high, with up to three in 10 county residents out of work.

Allan Freyer, a public policy analyst for the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, said a more accurate unemployment picture is the raw percentage of residents ages 16-64 who have jobs. In Wilson County, that figure stood at 69.6 percent in May, leaving about 31.3 percent of the county’s working-age population unemployed.

State unemployment figures are derived from labor market surveys, Freyer said, and discouraged job-seekers who have stopped looking for work aren’t counted.

The Budget and Tax Center is a project of the left-leaning N.C. Justice Center, but conservative think tanks agree the three-in-10 figure is closer to an accurate picture.

"I think unemployment is underreported,” Civitas Institute President Francis DeLuca told The Wilson Times for a July 12 story. "All the numbers are hiding a bigger problem, and that’s the lack of jobs and the number of people who are leaving the work force.” | 265-7821
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Jella Ree said...

When are the city council and county commissioners ever going to show some leadership on the unemployment issue?

Thursday, August 01, 2013 at 5:03 PM
Just Realized... said...

Unemployment and the percentage of people who don't want drug testing to receive welfare benefits are both at 13% +/- Coincidence? I think not!

Thursday, August 01, 2013 at 11:15 AM
@former said...

I know your comment was in jest, but actually I'd be more afraid if people in Wilson just gave up and left it the way it looked 50 years ago. I mean how many people attend the Whirligig Festival? A bunch of people and many from out of town. So the concept is working and like it or not at least Wilson has something that people like, and a park will just sit on the heels of that success (backed by pretty large private funding btw). Heck, we go to the Dogwood Festival in Farmville and I hate Dogwoods but you don’t go for that reason (at least we don’t). Look at all the stuff in Raleigh (parks, festivals, parades)...some are pretty out there but draws a crowd every year. Whirligig Park is not our answer to unemployment obviously but it certainly is not a deterrent and I’ve already heard rumblings of a business downtown that will use the name Whirligig. So perhaps it might even help unemployment but beyond that it might even make some folks feel better about themselves and Wilson.

Thursday, August 01, 2013 at 10:17 AM
@ Former Wilsonian said...

You pride yourself on being "Former" yet troll the WDT's site. None of your comments leave anyone more enlightened about issues. I wonder if you have a subscribtion or if you just piggyback off your relatives who still stay here. Either way, seems like a waste of time on your part.

Thursday, August 01, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Former Wilsonian said...

Whirigig Park will be the economic catalyst to solve all of Wilson's problems...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:06 PM
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