Job market remains sluggish
This year didn’t get off to the most robust start for job growth as unemployment rates increased in High Point and all 100 North Carolina counties from December to January, though Ralph Lauren Corp. continues to expand its work force in Guilford County.
Ralph Lauren, which has become High Point’s second-largest employer, plans to build a distribution center in Whitsett in the eastern part of Guilford County, said Dan Lynch, president of the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance. The operation would cover about 350,000 square feet in the Rock Creek Center business park, Lynch said Friday.
The planned Polo Ralph Lauren expansion in eastern Guilford County won’t affect the company’s ongoing growth of its work force in High Point, which includes adding 900 jobs during a period of years.
Any job creation by Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. or other employers would be welcome, given the area work force’s continued up and down swings in the wake of the Great Recession.
The city of High Point’s jobless rate rose back above the 10 percent mark in January, increasing from 9.7 percent in December to 10.2 percent in January, according to the N.C. Division of Employment Security.
Guilford County’s jobless rate increased from 9.6 percent in December to 10.3 percent in January, the division reported Friday. Davidson County’s unemployment level went up from 10.1 percent to 10.7 percent, while Randolph County jobless rate increased from 9.6 percent to 11.1 percent.
“The latest numbers are indicative of an economy that lacks enough employment opportunities for all those who want and need work,” said economic research John Quinterno with South by North Stratgies out of Chapel Hill.
In January, 76 counties and seven metropolitan areas posted unemployment rates of at least 10 percent. In January 2008, by contrast, four counties and no metropolitan areas recorded jobless rates of 10 percent or greater, Quinterno reports.