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Jobless rate falls to 18-year low, but 3 counties still above state rate

N..C. Commerce Map.jpg

Shown here is a map illustrating unemployment rates by county in North Carolina.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, October 15, 2018

Unemployment fell slightly across the Albemarle in August, but the jobless rate in three area counties still remained well above the state average.

Statewide, unemployment fell to 3.9 percent in August, the lowest rate in 18 years. That’s down two-tenths of a percent from July.

Across the region, the jobless rates fell in Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan, Camden and Currituck counties. However, the rates in Pasquotank, Perquimans and Chowan remained above the state average.

Pasquotank’s rate fell a tenth of a percent to 4.7 percent. Perquimans’ rate fell two-tenths of a percent to 4.9 percent, and Chowan’s rate also fell a tenth of a percent 4.5 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, Camden’s and Currituck’s jobless rates both fell a tenth of a percent, Camden’s to 3.7 percent and Currituck’s to 3.4 percent.

Among other counties in the immediate region, Dare posted a 3.3 percent jobless rate — tied for the state’s third lowest — and Gates posted a 4.1 percent rate.

N.C. Commerce officials said the jobless rate in August decreased in 88 counties, increased in four and remained unchanged in eight others.

Buncombe County, home of Asheville, posted the state’s lowest rate, at 3.1 percent, followed by Alexander at 3.2 percent and Granville, which posted a 3.3 percent rate.

Unemployment rates were higher in the eastern part of the state. In Scotland County, the rate was 7.6 percent. That was followed by Edgecombe County, where the rate was 6.8 percent, Wilson County, with a 6.3 percent rate, and Halifax County, with a 6.2 percent rate.

Commerce officials said the 3.9 percent statewide unemployment rate was the state’s lowest since September 2000. August’s 3.9 percent rate also marked the first time in a year North Carolina’s jobless rate matched the national jobless rate. It also was only the third time that has happened since August 2014.

Most importantly, the N.C. Commerce officials said, August’s decline in unemployment was part of a five-month trend, signaling a continuing tightness in the labor market.

The data show the state’s number of workers decreased in August by nearly 81,000 to more than 4.76 million, while those unemployed decreased nearly 11,500 to nearly 195,000.

Also since August 2017, the number of workers employed statewide has increased by nearly 65,000, while the number of unemployed decreased by nearly 43,400.

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