Caldwell County and N.C. jobless rates rise

Jan. 30, 2013 @ 06:40 PM

More than half of North Carolina’s 100 counties are mired in double-digit unemployment, and the news isn’t any better in Caldwell County.

The county’s jobless rate increased four-tenths of a percentage point to 11 percent in December data, but it is lower than December 2011's mark of 13 percent. The county’s workforce last month was 38,752 (down from 39,033 in November), and the official number of unemployed people was 4,250, up from 4,123 in November’s report.

Statewide, the unemployment rate hovered near double digits at 9.5 percent, up a half percentage rate from November.

In the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area, December's unemployment rose a half percentage point to 10.7 percent. About 200 manufacturing jobs were added in the region in December.

But the region's December rate was 1.6 percentage points lower than in December 2011 thanks to about 2,400 manufacturing jobs that were created in the region in the past 12 months.

The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area’s unemployment rate is still the second-highest in the state, behind Rocky Mount’s 12.5 percent. The Wilmington area ranks third at 10.2 percent.

Graham County had the highest rate in the state at 18.5 percent, followed by Scotland at 16.6, Swain at 16.5, Dare County at 15.9 percent, while Edgecomb County rounded out the top five with 15 percent.

Conversely, Orange County had the lowest rate for the month, 5.9 percent, followed by Buncombe and Henderson counties, which were at 7.2 percent in December.