3-24-2020 – Events overtake unemployment report

Posted on: March 24th, 2020 by admin

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March 24, 2020

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BY GUY LUCAS GUYLUCAS@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

 

Two months before the new corona virus crashed the economy, Caldwell County and the rest of the state saw a small increase in unemployment.

 

The N.C. Department of Commerce’s report on January’s local unemployment rate showed that all 100 counties saw their rate increase from December. In Caldwell, the increase was 0.6 percentage points, reaching 4%. Despite the increase, that is still a level that economists consider to be “full employment.”

 

That number is little more than an answer to a trivia game now, however, as unemployment claims statewide have shot up after business slowdowns or closures related to measures to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 

Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said that new unemployment claims in Caldwell County are “heading northward in a hurry,” particularly in service and retail industries.

 

“Those unemployment numbers will be staggering when the March report comes out in several months,” she said.

 

She noted that Caldwell was one of just four counties that had a year-over-year — from January 2019 to January 2020 — reduction of more than 0.8 points in the local unemployment rate.

 

“Caldwell’s numbers continued to show strong, long-term growth and stability — before COVID-19,” she said. “It is difficult to crow over sustained improvements that are now only historic information frozen in a rearview mirror.”

 

She said that employers who are still hiring can submit their openings to the EDC, which will post them on the Caldwell Is Hiring page on Facebook.

 

She also tried to sound an optimistic note for when the virus crisis has passed.

 

“Caldwell business and industry were at their strongest before the corona virus began to hit home,” she said. “Because of that I am certain we will regain that footing in the future.”

 

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