Unemployment drops in Polk County in March to 9.4 percent

Published 12:22 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

&dquo;While many of our counties are experiencing a slight decrease in unemployment, our state still faces significant challenges because of national recession,&dquo; said ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr. &dquo;We encourage those seeking work or needing to file for benefits to use the services of our many offices statewide. The ESC is working hard to help those who are unemployed find good jobs.&dquo;

The ESC reported that $268.6 million in benefits was paid to 256,930 people statewide in March, compared to $212.2 million to 233,077 people in February.&bsp; North Carolina had a total of 494,852 unemployed in March.

In Polk County, the unemployment rate doubled between last September when it was 4.9 percent and this February when it reached 9.8 percent. The jobless rate climbed steadily through the fall and winter.

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Despite the climb, Polk continues to have a relatively low unemployment rate compared to many other areas of the state. Only 25 of 100 counties in the state, including Polk County, had an unemployment rate under 10 percent in March. The lowest rate was in Orange County at 6.1 percent, while Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 16.6 percent.

Rutherford County was not far behind at 15.6 percent, while Henderson County was at 9.4 percent and Buncombe County was at 8.9 percent in March. Each of those neighboring counties saw slight declines in the jobless rate in March.

That was not the case in Spartanburg and Greenville counties in South Carolina. The unemployment rate in Spartanburg County rose 0.2 percent to 11.6 percent in March, and rose 0.2 percent to 9.6 percent in Greenville County.