03/24/10 — Jobless rate up slightly in Wayne County

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Jobless rate up slightly in Wayne County

By Laura Collins
Published in News on March 24, 2010 1:50 PM

The unemployment rate in Wayne County jumped again slightly in January, according to numbers that were recently released from the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina.

The January rate for the county was 9.9 percent, up from 9.2 percent in December. Wayne County joined 98 of the other 100 counties that saw an increase in unemployment rates.

"I felt that we would see an increase in the numbers as we saw full new claim schedules during January," said Bill Pate, Employment Securities Commission branch manager. "I think the overall economy is struggling along with the fact that the weather was pretty bad in January and it helped raise the rates."

In November, the rate was 9.0 and rose in December to 9.2 before rising again in January to 9.9, but Pate said it's likely the unemployment rate for February will begin decreasing.

"On a brighter note, we are taking fewer claims during the month of February and I have been told by many folks, especially in the construction sector, that (they) expect to return to work very soon," Pate said.

In Wayne County, the labor force in January was 52,706. Of that labor force, 5,194 people were unemployed.

"We have seen an overall increase in job listings from most sectors in the Wayne County business," Pate said. "While I know we are not yet ready to say we are over the recession, I do think that things are beginning to head in a more positive direction."

Surrounding counties also saw an increase in January. Duplin County's unemployment rate increased from 9.3 percent in December to 9.9 percent in January. Greene increased from 10.1 percent to 11.2 percent; Johnston increased from 9.8 percent to 10.9 percent; Sampson increased from 9.0 percent to 9.6 percent; and Wilson increased from 12.5 percent to 12.9 percent.

Wayne County is still under the statewide unemployment rate. The state rate increase from 10.9 percent in December to 11.8 percent in January.