Job market better than year ago

Jan. 03, 2013 @ 02:04 PM

Jobless rates across the region and state were up from October to November, but remain lower than levels at the same time a year ago.
Monthly jobless rates inched up in the city of High Point and Guilford and Davidson counties, while increasing by a wider margin in Randolph County, according to figures released Thursday by the N.C. Division of Employment Security. But jobless rates in the city and three surrounding counties are down noticeably from November 2011.
The same trend holds statewide, according to the Division of Employment Security report. 
Unemployment rates increased in 81 counties from October to November while decreasing in 13 and remaining the same in six. However, from last November to this November, jobless levels declined in 95 counties, the state’s job service agency reports.
Still, the job market hasn’t returned to conditions prior to the Great Recession, said John Quinterno, a principal with the economic research firm South by North Strategies out of Chapel Hill.
“Although the declines in local unemployment rates are positive developments, the drops do not alter the fact that unemployment rates remain abnormally high,” he said. “Last month, 43 counties and two metro areas posted unemployment rates of at least 10 percent. In November 2008, in contrast, just 15 counties and one metro area logged unemployment rates of 10 percent or greater.”
Locally, the city of High Point’s unemployment rate edged up from 9.2 percent in October to 9.4 percent in November. However, the jobless level is down significantly from the 10.9 percent rate in November 2011, according to Division of Employment Security figures. The city had 1,426 more employed workers in November compared to the same month a year ago, while the number of unemployed people dropped by 700.
While the monthly jobless rates in Guilford and Davidson counties bumped up by only 0.1 percent, the Randolph County unemployment level increased from 8.4 percent in October to 9 percent in November.  
Randolph County job service office manager Shelia Barnes attributes the increase to seasonal factors. No major layoff took effect in November that would have skewed the Randolph County figures, Barnes said.

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