Unemployment rate drops in Wilmington metro

Rates for November 2013. Image cropped from N.C. Department of Commerce graphic.
Rates for November 2013. Image cropped from N.C. Department of Commerce graphic.

The tri-county area continues to see an improved employment picture.

New Hanover County’s unemployment rate dropped nearly a full percentage point in November to 6.7 percent, which is two points lower than it was the same time a year prior.

The state released its county-level rates for November today, following up on a state-level report of the brightest figure in five years: 6.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted, initially reported by the state as a seasonally adjusted 7.4 percent).

Tuesday’s not seasonally adjusted release showed decreased unemployment rates in 91 of North Carolina’s 100 counties over the month, with increases in the remaining nine.

Brunswick County saw a slight increase to 7.9 percent in November–from 7.7 percent the prior month–but it’s markedly down from the 10.2 percent of November 2012.

Pender County’s rate in November was 8.1 percent, down from 8.7 percent the prior month and from 10 percent the prior year.

The Wilmington metro area overall posted 7.2 percent unemployment in November, from 7.7 percent the previous month and from 9.3 percent a year back.

That’s a year-over-year difference of 2.1 percentage points.

For comparison, the best metro rate reported in the state was Durham-Chapel Hill’s 5.1 percent. Nine of the state’s 14 metro areas had a better unemployment rate than the Wilmington metro area, inclusive of New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

New Hanover County’s labor force in November numbered 107,218, of whom 7,167 were unemployed, according to today’s report.

The labor force doesn’t include anyone who has quit looking for work.

Brunswick County’s labor force numbered 50,614, of whom 3,980 were unemployed.

In Pender County, a labor force of 24,224 included 1,951 residents looking for jobs.

The metro area’s industry with the biggest over-the-month employment increase was leisure and hospitality at 5.9 percent, followed by transportation and utilities at 3.2 percent.

The mining, logging and construction category showed the biggest decrease in employment here, at -6.8 percent.

The lowest individual jobless rate in the state in November was Orange County’s 4.3 percent.

The state’s highest was in Scotland County, which posted a 13. 5 percent rate (down from 14.4 percent the prior month and 16 percent the year prior).

Click here for the full report.

The statewide rate for December is due out Jan. 28.

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