Polk unemployment back up to 8.8 pct. in Oct.

Published 8:24 pm Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Polk Countys jobless rate jumped back up in October, rising 0.6 percent, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

The commission reported that Polk had an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent with 842 people unemployed and looking for work. The county had a labor force in October of 9,547 with 8,705 employed.

The local employment situation appeared to be improving after the jobless rate dropped from 8.9 percent to 8.2 percent in August and remained unchanged in September.

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Despite the jump in October, the rate remains below a high of 9.8 percent in Polk County in February. At that time, 958 people were unemployed in the county, 116 more than in October.

Polk was not alone in having a higher jobless rate in October. Rates climbed in 74 of North Carolinas 100 counties. North Carolina had a total of 484,120 unemployed workers in October.

While some of the increases&bsp; are seasonal, there is a continued effect throughout the state from this recession, said ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr. Helping the jobless find work continues to be one of our major goals. We have seen some hiring over the past month, but we also know that layoffs continue to take place. Meanwhile, the ESC is aggressively working to finish the necessary programming of our computer system so that the new extension of claims can be filed and paid.

Polk continues to fare better than most counties in the state. In October there were 64 counties in the state with an unemployment rate at 10 percent of higher.

Neighboring Rutherford County is one of the counties struggling the most. The jobless rate in Rutherford County jumped from 14.3 percent in September to 16.6 percent in October, just slightly behind the highest rate in the state of 17.2 percent in Scotland County.

The lowest rate was in Currituck County at 6 percent. Henderson County was at 8.9 percent in October.

In South Carolina, the trend was similar. The states jobless rate rose 0.4 percent to 12.1 percent with 262,956 unemployed.

The unemployment rate also rose 0.4 percent in both Spartanburg and Greenville counties, reaching 12.5 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.

The highest unemployment rate in South Carolina was in Allendale County at 22.2 percent in October. The lowest was in Lexington County at 8.6 percent.

Both North Carolina and South Carolina were well above the national average unemployment rate in October of 10.2 percent.