Polk County unemployment rate drops to lowest point so far in 2009

Published 1:25 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

According to figures from the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, Polk County had a labor force of 9,700 in August with 8,906 employed and 794 unemployed.

The number of unemployed was down 82 from July and down 164 from February when the jobless rate hit a high of 9.8 percent. Polk County&squo;s labor force is down 54 from February.

Polk&squo;s unemployment rate climbed sharply beginning last fall. The county had an unemployment rate of just 3.7 percent last April with only 348 unemployed. But the rate began rising steadily the rest of the year until it jumped from 6.2 to 7.2 percent in December and then spiked to 9.4 percent in January.

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In recent months, most counties across the state have seen employment conditions improve.

The statewide unemployment rate fell from 11.1 percent in July to 10.7 percent in August.

Unemployment rates dropped in 90 of the North Carolina&squo;s 100 counties in August. North Carolina had 45 counties, including Polk County, that were at or below the state&squo;s average jobless rate.

&dquo;Rates have decreased in many of these counties for various reasons,&dquo; said ESC Chairman&bsp; Moses Carey Jr. &dquo;Most counties experienced some loss in the labor force. People moving away and looking for work in other areas, students returning to school or, some people exhausting their benefits, are reasons for such declines. This can have an impact on the unemployment rate.&uot;

The state showed that the number of unemployed dropped in August to 485,723 from 510,021 in July.

Currituck County again had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.1 percent in August, while Scotland County again had the highest rate at 16.5 percent.

Neighboring Rutherford County was not far behind, remaining unchanged at 15 percent in August.

In South Carolina, where the statewide rate dropped slightly to 11.5 percent in August, the unemployment rate dropped to 12.4 percent in Spartanburg County and 10.1 percent in Greenville County.

South Carolina continues to have the sixth highest unemployment rate in the country, following Michigan at 15.1 percent, Nevada at 13.2 percent, Rhode Island at 12.8 percent and California and Oregon at 12.2 percent.