Polk County’s unemployment rate jumps to 7.1 percent

Published 2:12 pm Friday, January 30, 2009

Polk&squo;s rate is likely the highest it&squo;s been since the last severe recession in the early 1980s. In 1983, North Carolina had an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent. The state had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent in December of 2008. Unemployment rates rose in all but three of North Carolina&squo;s 100 counties in December.

&dquo;Every corner of North Carolina is feeling the effects of our national economy. Layoffs and cutbacks have taken a toll on many of our sectors, including retail during the holiday season, professional and business services, along with construction and manufacturing,&dquo; said ESC chairman Moses Carey Jr. &dquo;In our offices throughout the state, the ESC is helping those who have filed a claim or are in need of other services like worker retaining.&dquo;

According to the ESC, Polk County had a labor force of 9,710 in December with 9,018 employed and 692 unemployed.

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Polk&squo;s unemployment rate has risen steadily since reaching of low of 3.7 percent in April of last year.

While it is nearly double that level now, it remains relatively low compared to many other areas of the state.

Rutherford County&squo;s unemployment rate soared to 12.8 percent in December, the third highest rate in the state. Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate in December at 13.9 percent, while Orange County had the lowest at 4.8 percent.