Jobless rates continue welcome decline

Jan. 07, 2014 @ 01:50 PM

Unemployment rates in the greater High Point area continue their welcome retreat from the high levels of the Great Recession.
The N.C. Division of Employment Security reported Tuesday that jobless levels fell from October to November in the city of High Point and Guilford, Randolph and Davidson counties. Statewide, unemployment rates declined in 91 of 100 counties and dropped in all 14 metropolitan areas.
The city of High Point unemployment rate took a noticeable drop from 7.9 percent in October to 7.1 percent this past November, according to Division of Employment Security Commission figures. The city’s jobless level was last at 7.1 percent in October 2008 as the nation’s financial and housing crisis began to put a stranglehold on the U.S. economy.
In Davidson County, which was battered by furniture plant closings last decade even before the recession, the jobless rate dropped from 8 percent in October to 7.3 percent in November. Davidson County’s jobless level in November reached its lowest point since June 2008, said county job services office Manager Charles Diggs.
“We are creating new job orders every day from employers in the area,” Diggs told The High Point Enterprise.
Similar employment pictures emerge in Guilford and Randolph counties. In Guilford, the jobless rate declined from 8 percent in October to 7.2 percent in November, while in Randolph the level dropped from 7.1 percent to 6.7 percent, according to the Division of Employment Security.
Still, some labor market analysts say the declining numbers reflect a less positive development. Anyone who gives up actively looking for work isn’t counted part of the state or national labor force, and the jobless numbers include people who’ve quit seeking job leads.
“We’re basically seeing the unemployed moving out of the labor force altogether, rather than into jobs, largely because there are just not enough available job openings,” said Allan Freyer, a public policy analyst with the Budget & Tax Center out of Raleigh.
For example, in the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area, only 30 percent of the of the drop in unemployed people from November 2012 to this past November resulted from workers moving into jobs, the center reports.
“The other 70 percent simply dropped out of the labor force altogether,” according to the center.

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Jobless rates then and now
Unemployment rates in the greater High Point area have dropped noticeably in the past year. The N.C. Division of Employment Security released figures Tuesday from this past November compared to November 2012:
City of High Point — From 9.6 percent to 7.1 percent
Guilford County — From 9.4 percent to 7.2 percent
Davidson County — From 9.8 percent to 7.3 percent
Randolph County — From 9.2 percent to 6.7 percent