In the right direction ... at last
Is the local job market finally back in business after more than four years of pounding by the Great Recession?
If last month is an indication, perhaps so. The city of High Point’s jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent in April, the lowest mark since the beginning of the recession in late 2008. The last time the monthly unemployment level in High Point reached a lower level was 8.3 percent in December 2008.
The improvement during April reflects both hiring for the spring High Point Market last month and more jobs filled through employment agencies, said Ikel Williams, manager of the High Point office of the N.C. Division of Employment Security.
Hiring by employment agencies, for either part-time or full-time positions, usually is an indicator of improving labor market conditions, Williams told The High Point Enterprise. The city’s jobless rate fell from 9 percent in March to 8.5 percent last month, according to Division of Employment Security figures released Wednesday.
“Not all employers are as confident about where the market is going right now. But it looks like they have jobs and are going through agencies,” he said.
For example, on Wednesday, an employment agency was seeking applicants for about 100 jobs in a range of categories, including manufacturing, Williams said.
“That is a hopeful sign, because employers are showing they need the people. They just want to make sure, going through an agency, that it stays steady,” he said. “As orders keep coming in, employers then will start bringing on more permanent people at that time.”
Division of Employment Security figures show the job market improvement in High Point reflected an upturn across the region and state. From March to April, unemployment rates decreased in 97 of the state’s 100 counties, the Division of Employment Security reports.
Unemployment rates dropped from March to April in Davidson, Guilford and Randolph counties. Davidson County, hammered both by the recession and a decade of furniture plant closings, had its jobless rate fall from 9.5 percent in March to 9.1 percent in April, the Division of Employment Security reports. The last time the Davidson County rate reached 9.1 percent was November 2008, said Charles Diggs, the new manager of the job service office for the county.
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Anyone who needs help either looking for work or applying for unemployment benefits can contact one of the N.C. Employment Security Commission offices in the area. The offices include:
High Point ESC, 607 Idol St., 882-4141
Asheboro ESC, 355 S. Fayetteville St., 625-5128
Lexington ESC, 103 W. Center St. Extension, 248-2326