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December labor market data shows a promising declining trend in the state’s unemployment rate, and while December figures have yet to be released for each county, Nash County rates have also experienced a significant decrease over the past three years.
The state’s unemployment rate for December 2018 was 3.6 percent, which is unchanged from October and November. Unemployment throughout the state has decreased 0.9 percent over the past year, since December 2017.
According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the number of people employed increased 4,299 over the month to 4,818,454 and increased 74,190 over the year. The number of people unemployed increased 1,173 over the month to 178,436 and decreased 43,413 over the year.
In Nash County, the unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percent in October 2018 to 4.3 percent in November 2018. This is a decrease of 0.4 percent at the same point 12 months earlier, and 2.1 percent lower than November 2016.
The number of people employed in Nash County increased by 288 from October to November to 40,969 and increased 819 since January 2018. The number of people unemployed decreased by 15 over the same month span to 1,842 and decreased 769 since January 2018.
“Gov. Roy Cooper announced 19,729 new jobs in North Carolina last year, representing 157 business recruitment, expansion or rural development projects that engaged Commerce or its team at the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. in 2018,” state Department of Commerce spokesman David Rhoades wrote in a news release. “These projects represent $3.54 billion of new investment in the state. A majority of the projects located or expanded in the state’s more rural or economically distressed areas, with 69 percent choosing either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county, as delineated by North Carolina’s economic development tier system.”
Nash County was designated as a 2019 Tier 1 county in November, ranking it among the 40 most economically distressed counties in the state. The designation allows Nash County to be eligible for various state programs that are designed to encourage economic activity.
Patrick McHugh, senior economic analyst with the Budget & Tax Center project from the North Carolina Justice Center, an organization that works to eliminate poverty in the state, said while the decline in unemployment is good news, lags in state manufacturing job creation continue to cause concern.
“It is good to see continued job growth, but that should not distract anyone from the deeper problems in our economy that have not been solved. North Carolina had a decent year, but we lagged behind many states and still have not replaced the living-wage jobs that were lost in the Great Recession,” McHugh said.