Nearly 230 fewer Albemarle residents filed unemployment claims in October than in September, decreasing the five-county region’s overall jobless rate by half a percent to 5.2%.
According to the N.C. Department of Commerce’s latest county-level data, a total of 2,409 residents were unemployed in Pasquotank, Currituck, Camden, Perquimans and Chowan counties in October. That compares to 2,636 who filed unemployment claims in September.
In another positive sign for the regional economy, the combined workforce in all five counties grew by 430 in October to 45,954. All five counties saw increases in their labor force, with Currituck and Chowan posting the largest gains.
Statewide, the number of people seeking jobless benefits fell by more than 40,000 in October to 302,413. That’s an unemployment rate of 6.1%, compared to 6.9% in September. In addition, the state’s labor force grew by more than 40,000 in October to 4.96 million.
All five area counties reported decreases in their number of unemployed, with Currituck and Chowan responsible for 47% of the decrease.
Camden and Currituck counties continued to post the lowest jobless rates in the region, and were ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the state for having the lowest rates.
Camden’s rate fell from 4.7% to 4.5%, trailing only Watauga and Orange counties, which reported rates of 4.1% and 4.4%, respectively. Currituck’s rate fell to 4.6%, a decrease of .5% from September.
Chowan’s jobless rate saw the largest decrease from September: .7%. In September, its rate was 5.8%. In October, it was 5.1%. That was good enough for the 20th-lowest rate in the state.
Perquimans, whose jobless rate was the state’s 37th-lowest, fell to 5.4%, a .6% decrease that was second only to Chowan’s in the region.
Pasquotank’s jobless rate also fell by .5% — from 6.5% to 6%. That was the state’s 60th lowest rate. Elizabeth City’s jobless rate also fell in October by .5% to 5.6%, half-a-percent lower than Pasquotank County’s as a whole.
For the fourth straight month, no area county had a higher jobless rate than the state rate.
Currituck reported the largest numerical decrease in the number of unemployed: 76. In September, 708 people reported being unemployed. In October, that number fell to 632.
Currituck also reported the largest numerical increase in its workforce: 206, which was roughly half the region’s increase for the month. In September, Currituck’s workforce numbered 13,663. In October, it had grown to 13,869.
Chowan reported the second-largest decrease in jobless claims: 33. In September, 325 persons filed for unemployment. That compares to October, when 292 did.
Chowan also reported the second-largest increase in workforce: 90. In September, its workforce totaled to 5,589. In October, that number had risen to 5,679.
As the area’s largest county, Pasquotank continued to have the largest workforce: 16,780. That was an increase of 58 workers from September. The county’s number of jobless, meanwhile, fell from 1,030 in September to 1,003 in October — a decrease of 27.
In Camden, 10 fewer people filed unemployment claims in October. Two-hundred eleven claims were filed, compared to 221 filed in September. The county’s workforce, meanwhile rose to 4,641 — an increase of 40.
In Perquimans, five fewer people filed for jobless benefits in October than in September. Two-hundred seventy-one claims were filed in October, compared to 276 filed in September. Perquimans’ workforce, meanwhile, grew from 4.949 to 4,985 — an increase of 36.
According to the Commerce Department, unemployment decreased in all 100 counties in October. In addition, 17 counties — including Camden and Currituck — reported rates of 5% or lower, while only one county — Scotland, with a rate of 10.5% — had a rate of 10% or above. By comparison, only three counties had a rate of 5% percent or less in September, and three counties had rates of 10% percent or above.
An early snapshot of unemployment data for November suggested the economic gains in October may continue or at least remain stable. The commerce department reported before Christmas that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 6.2 percent, which is basically unchanged from October’s revised rate. The number of people unemployed increased by 2,650 from October while the number of those in the workforce grew by 28,320.
The commerce department plans to release county-level data for November in early January.