12-3-2020 – Jobs surged in October, report says

Posted on: December 3rd, 2020 by admin

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December 3, 2020

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By Guy Lucas guylucas@newstopicnews.com

Dec 3, 2020 Updated 1 hr ago

 

The state and local economies both saw a surge in hiring in October, according to a new state report on unemployment.

 

The number of Caldwell County residents with jobs jumped by almost 600 in October while more people rejoined the workforce and number without jobs dropped by about 300, leading the county’s unemployment rate to drop by almost a full percentage point, going from 7.5% in September to 6.6%, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported.

 

Caldwell’s numbers in the report are the best they have been since March. Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said that the continuous improvement was a good sign.

 

“That said, employers have had their greatest challenge during these last months, and it appears it will continue until the COVID numbers begin to fall,” she said. “Positive cases and the consequential quarantines (of those workers) are creating serious challenges in the workplace. I am, however, so very impressed with the diligence Caldwell employers have approached workplace safety during these times.”

 

The local unemployment rate dropped in all 100 counties in the state, though only 13 saw larger decreases than Caldwell.

 

Neighboring Burke County’s rate dropped 0.8 of a point to 5.7%, and Catawba’s dropped by 1 point to 6.2% Statewide, the number of people without jobs dropped by about 37,000 and the number with jobs surged by about 99,000 as more people rejoined the workforce. People who do not have jobs but are not actively seeking work do not count toward the most reported unemployment number.

 

The report also shows that unlike in August and September, when the bulk of hiring was related to the new school year starting up, hiring through mid-October was well distributed across the economy, both locally and statewide.

 

The overall Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan statistical area regained about 2,400 jobs from mid-September to mid-October, the report said. The largest number, about 800, were in manufacturing, the region’s largest employment sector, but about 500 were in leisure and hospitality, 400 in professional business services, 200 in trade, transportation and utilities, 200 in government, 100 in education and health, and 100 in mining, logging and construction.

 

The economy still has a long way to go to cover the jobs lost in the spring following the extensive shutdowns caused by efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. Even with October’s gain, the Hickory region was still about 13,000 jobs, or 8.3%, short of the number it had in October 2019, the report said.

 

The overall Hickory region’s unemployment rate of 6.1% in October compares to 3.4% in October 2019. Caldwell’s rate in October 2019 was 3.7%.

 

Murray said the remaining high number of unemployed workers does not reflect the strength of the local economy.

 

“Employers have tremendous need for additional employees,” she said. “The current pandemic has shrunk the supply of local available workers to fill them.”

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