Polk unemployment rises to highest level seen in five years

Published 10:08 am Friday, August 29, 2008

&dquo;North Carolina had a large increase in the labor force throughout many of the state&squo;s counties during July, however unemployment also rose,&dquo; said ESC chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. &dquo;Much of the increase is attributed to the significant number of people entering and re-entering the labor force, which could be a sign that workers believe jobs are out there and they are actively looking. We were encouraged by the large number of workers, 31, 435, who found employment in July.&dquo;

For Polk County, the jobless rate is the highest its been since August of 2003 when it also was 5.2 percent. Prior to that the highest was 5.3 percent in June of 2002. The unemployment rate averaged 5.2 percent in 2002 after it fell from a high of 6.7 percent in January of that year coming off the economic downturn of 2001.

Polk County&squo;s unemployment rate last month was well above where it was in July of 2007 when it was 3.5 percent.

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The highest unemployment rate in the state last month was in Scotland County at 11.7 percent, while the lowest unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in Currituck County.

Rutherford County&squo;s unemployment rate rose from 7.7 percent in June to 8.0 percent in July. In Henderson County, the jobless rate rose from 4.7 percent to 5.3 percent. &bsp;