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Polk unemployment improves slightly in Nov.

The unemployment rate in Polk County improved slightly in November, dipping 0.2 percent to 8.6 percent, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

The state reports Polk County had 824 people unemployed and looking for work in November, down from 842 in October.

Polk had a labor force in November of 9,535 with 8,711 employed. The county had as many as 958 people unemployed and looking for work when the jobless rate hit a high last year of 9.8 percent.

Polk was among a minority of counties in the state that saw a lower unemployment rate in November. The state reports that rates rose in 60 of the 100 counties, and the statewide average rate increase from 10.6 percent in October to 10.7 percent in November.

Many of the states counties experienced a small change in their unemployment rates, said ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr. We continue to assist job seekers and those customers looking to apply for unemployment insurance. Help has arrived in the form of another extension of benefits and we have begun paying out those funds to eligible participants.

Rutherford County also saw improvement in November with its rate falling 0.4 percent to 16.1 percent, although it remains one of the highest rates in the state.

Henderson County remained unchanged at 8.8 percent and Buncombe County was down 0.1 percent to 8.2 percent.

Orange County had the states lowest unemployment rate in November at 6.3 percent, while Edgecombe County had the highest at 16.6 percent.

In South Carolina, the statewide rate rose 0.3 percent in November to a record high of 12.3 percent.&bsp; Rates ranged from 8.8 percent in Lexington County to 23 percent in Allendale County.

Spartanburg Countys unemployment rose 0.1 percent to 12.5 percent, while Greenville Countys rate was unchanged at 10.5 percent.

We have seen an increase in the number of people returning to the workforce for the first time since May, and we will likely see the number of unemployed rise throughout the fall months, said Sam Foster, Interim Executive Director of the S.C. Employment Security Commission. Going forward, extensive job creation in the private sector will be a key factor in lowering the states unemployment rate for the longer term.