Number of local jobs goes up

Aug. 28, 2014 @ 03:53 PM

The total number of Caldwell County residents who have jobs increased in July even as a seasonal swing in the job market statewide caused the local unemployment rate to inch slightly higher, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported.

The unemployment rate for July was 7.4 percent. The rate for June originally had been reported as 7.3 percent but was later revised down to 7.2 percent.

The local unemployment rate climbed in 95 of the state’s 100 counties in July and decreased in only four, driven in large part by government jobs that go on hiatus for the summer. In the Hickory/Lenoir/Morganton statistical area, for example, the number of government jobs dropped by about 2,400 from June to July. Metropolitan areas across the state reported similar drops.

But every county in the state had a lower unemployment rate in July than it had a year earlier, reflecting an overall stronger economy.

And only two counties have seen greater year-over-year decreases in unemployment than Caldwell County. Caldwell’s rate went down by 2.5 percentage points, from 9.9 percent in July 2013.

The labor force in Caldwell County grew in July by nearly 250 people to more than 37,000, resuming a months-long trend that was interrupted in June. Growth in the labor force is often a sign of confidence as long-term unemployed workers who had given up looking for work resume looking for jobs.

The number of unemployed workers rose in July, but only by just over 100 people, much less than half of the growth in the labor force, which is why the total number of those with jobs grew to nearly 34,300.