More Caldwell County residents rejoin workforce

Number of local jobs highest since October 2008
Jul. 02, 2014 @ 08:51 AM

The number of Caldwell County residents looking for work surged in May by about 300, so the local unemployment rate rose even though the number of people with jobs went up by more than 100, according to figures released Tuesday by the N.C. Department of Commerce.

But the biggest news is from the historical data: More Caldwell residents reported having jobs in May than in any month since October 2008, said Deborah Murrah, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission. In May it was nearly 34,600, about 500 less than in October 2008.

The increase in the number of people who have jobs continues a trend in recent months of the number of employed going up even if the unemployment rate also goes up.

"There are more people working and more people wanting to work," Murray said. "So long as the number of paychecks is growing, that's what matters to us."

The local unemployment rate for May was 7.5 percent, the department said. The rate for April, originally reported as 7.1 percent, was revised down to 7.0 percent.

Though the number of people reporting that they could not find a job went up – from about 2,600 in April to nearly 2,800 in May – that was less than the increase in the county’s labor force, which went from a little more than 37,000 to nearly 37,400.

An increase in the labor force is often a sign of increasing confidence in the local economy because it means more of the long-term unemployed have resumed looking for jobs.

Almost all of the state’s counties saw similar increases – the unemployment rate rose in 92 of the 100 counties, and in only 29 was the increase less than in Caldwell County, the commerce department said.