Tri-County has improvement

Apr. 10, 2013 @ 05:59 PM

Vance County’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest percentage in four months.

Figures were released by the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division Wednesday morning. Numbers also dropped in Tri-County neighbors Granville and Warren counties.

Vance’s rate was at 12.9 percent, Granville 9.7 and Warren 12.2. The largest of the three drops belonged to Vance, which was a full percentage point.

The state rate in February was 9.4 and the national rate was 7.7. The national rate already released for March last week was 7.6 percent. State and county numbers for March are to be released April 19 and May 1, respectively.

Unemployment fell in 99 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Thirteen counties have unemployment of 13.0 percent or higher, and Vance County ranks tied with four others for 83rd, its best rank in more than a year.

Vance County’s labor force is at 19,280, with 2,496 unemployed. Warren County ranked 77th, has a labor force of 7,851 and 961 unemployed. Granville County ranks 35th, has a labor force of 27,023 and 2,610 unemployed.

The news comes on the heels of employers nationwide having more job openings than at any time in the past five years. Openings are up 11 percent in the last year alone but the number of people hired each month has declined, in part because employers are in no hurry to fill openings in a still fragile economy.

Economists are also indicating, according to a report by The Associated Press on Tuesday, a new normal is evolving for what is considered a “normal” level of unemployment in the country. Rather than 5 percent to 6 percent, the new norm could be around 7 percent.

Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this week introduced a proposal to create a private nonprofit corporation to lead the state’s economic development and tourism efforts. The N.C. Economic Development Corporation would get state funds and take over many responsibilities of the Commerce Department.

Approval from the General Assembly would be required.

According to McCrory, appointments to the corporation’s board would be made by elected officials, thereby providing a level of transparency and accountability to actions.

The state has lost more than a quarter-million jobs since the recession began.

 

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.