Polk unemployment stays above 10 pct. in February
Published 8:01 pm Monday, April 12, 2010
Polk Countys unemployment rate stayed in double figures in February edging up to a new high of 10.2 percent, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission (ESC).
The rate was up 0.1 percent from a revised January unemployment rate of 10.1 percent. The state previously reported a January rate of 10 percent, the highest the county has seen since the recent recession began.
The ESC reported that Polk County had a labor force of 9,612 in February with 8,629 employed and 983 unemployed.
The number of unemployed in Polk County was up 24 from January, while the number employed was up 45.
Polk was one of 58 counties in North Carolina with higher rates in February, while rates declined in 19 counties and remained the same in 23 counties.
The statewide average jobless rate rose to 11.8 percent from an adjusted 11.7 percent in January. Rates increased in six of the states 14 metropolitan statistical areas, including Asheville. The rate in the Asheville area mirrored Polk, rising from 10.1 percent in January to 10.2 percent in February.
Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest rate among metropolitan areas at 8.4 percent. The highest was in Burlington at 13.2 percent, followed by Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill at 12.8 percent.
“The February data demonstrate the uncertain nature of the current economic conditions,” said ESC Chairman Lynn Holmes. “Some areas experienced industry employment gains, but overall we continue to face challenges on the road to recovery. But, our agency is committed to continuing to provided needed services for thousands across our state.”
In Rutherford County, the unemployment rate remained at 17.9 percent, the second highest in the state, trailing only Graham County at 19.4 percent.
The lowest rate in the state in February was in Orange County at 6.9 percent.
In South Carolina, the labor market showed some improvement in February.
The statewide average rate fell from 12.6 in January to 12.5 percent in February. In Spartanburg County, the rate dropped from 13.6 to 13.2 percent, and in Greenville County it declined from 11.2 to 10.9 percent.
The estimated number of unemployed in the state decreased by 1,035 to 271,140. The overall job count for Februry was 24,100 below the level a year ago.
The highest rate in the state in February was in Marion County at 22.7 percent, down from 24.1 percent in January. The lowest rate in the state was in Lexington County at 9.2 percent.
“We are encouraged by the job gains in most industry divisions as well as the slight downward movement in the number of unemployed in February,” said Samurel R. Foster, Interim Executive Director of the South Carolina Employment Security Commission. “Going forward, we are hopeful this direction will continue; nevertheless, we fell this will be a slow and aruous process as the state attempts to recover from the recent recession.”