Tri-County unemployment rates climb with state

Feb. 04, 2013 @ 07:39 PM

Reports of a strong job market and a resilient economy nationally are not resonating in the Tri-County area just yet.

December unemployment figures released showed all three counties were up significantly, staying on par with 94 others in the state also increasing in the percentage of unemployed.

Vance County climbed to 13.4 percent, Warren was up to 12.1 and Granville 9.8. All three climbed more than one-half point over November. The numbers were provided by the N.C. Department of Commerce's Labor and Economic Analysis Division.

The statewide rate for December not seasonally adjusted was 9.5. The national figures for January showed an increase form 7.8 in December to 7.9 in January.

Lawmakers were expected to debate a package in the state House Monday evening that would cut benefits and raise business taxes on the unemployed. North Carolina owes $2.6 billion to the federal government, and the new package would repay the debt three years faster.

Maximum weekly benefits to the unemployed would also be dropped by about one-third, to roughly $350 a week.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate is fifth-worst in the country.

The December numbers come on the heels of Vance County’s unemployment rate being seasonally adjusted at 12.3 percent in October and 12.5 in November, the best in four years. Vance County was at 10.0 percent in October 2008.

Last year’s January rate was 15.0, decreased to 12.7 in April before rising to 14.3 in June.

Warren County was at 11.5 percent in November and Granville County was 9.2 percent. The state rate had dropped to 9.1 in November and the national rate was 7.7.

Vance County spent all of 2012 ranking between 94th and 96th among the state’s 100 counties until moving to 91st in the December numbers.

In comparison to a year earlier, Vance was at 14.4 percent in December 2011, Warren 13.9 and Granville 10.1.

Vance County’s favorable trend in increases in the labor force and the number of those employed was interrupted in November and continued badly in December. The county’s labor force dropped by 181 to 19,405 while the number of unemployed surged by 147 to 2,602.

In the Micropolitan Statistical Area numbers, Henderson’s 13.4 percent unemployed was a 0.8-percent increase over November and 1-percent less than December 2011.

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.