BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Unemployment in Edgecombe County jumped nearly 2 percent in January as it reached a 37-month high at 16.6 percent. It marked the 56th consecutive month that unemployment has been in double digits.
Not since January 2010, when the rate reached 17.1 percent, had it been so high in Edgecombe County. After a slight dip in July, the rate has climbed for six months in a row.
Overall, January unemployment increased in all 100 counties and the statewide not seasonally adjusted rate was 10.2 percent.
The lowest unemployment rate was in Orange County at 6.6 percent, while the state’s highest unemployment was in Graham County, located in the southwestern corner of the state, at 20.4 percent. Next was Dare County, along the Atlantic Ocean, at 20.1 percent.
Both counties, Graham because of the Nantahala National Forest, Fontana Lake and the Cheoah River and Dare because of the coast, thrive on tourism.
Edgecombe ranked No. 96, ahead of Swain (19.0 percent0 and Scotland at 17.8 percent.
January data showed almost 400 jobs less than the previous year and almost 100 more persons unemployed.
Locally, there were 25,394 persons working in January and 4,211 who were out-of-work for one reason or another compared to a workforce of 25,786 and 4,118 unemployed the previous year.
Area counties reported 14.7 percent in Halifax County, 13.0 in Wilson, 12.7 in Nash, 12.0 in Martin and 9.9 in Pitt.
All 14 of the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas increased as well, with Rocky Mount at 14.1 percent — up from December’s 13.0 rate.
The number of workers employed (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in January by 30,998 to 4,255,318, while those unemployed rose 37,412 to 482,822. Since January 2012, the number of workers unemployed increased 14,640, while those employed increased 68,375.