7-1-2021 – Manufacturing shows gradual gains

Posted on: July 1st, 2021 by admin


July 1, 2021



By Guy Lucas guylucas@newstopicnews.com

Jun 30, 2021 Updated 11 hrs ago


The Hickory region’s slow recovery of manufacturing jobs continued in May even as overall unemployment numbers here and statewide showed little change.


Caldwell County’s unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point to 4.6% in May, but the labor force and the number of those who were unemployed barely changed, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported.


That reflected a statewide trend in May — local unemployment rates increased in 77 of the state’s 100 counties, and in most cases the change was the same as in Caldwell — that may simply reflect the seasonal end of jobs tied to the school calendar.


Burke County’s rate increased by 0.2 points to 4.3%, while Catawba County was among the 15 counties where the rate did not change from April.


More important is that the manufacturing sector in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan statistical area gained about 400 jobs since April’s report.


Manufacturing was the sector hardest hit in this region by the COVID-19-related shutdowns of spring 2020.


Two months ago LEAD reported that the number of people employed in manufacturing in the Hickory region was still more than 2,000 behind the number in early March 2020, and over the past two months manufacturing has gained about 700 jobs, according to the past two unemployment reports.


Many manufacturers in the region are among the numerous employers that have jobs available that they are struggling to fill, however.


The number of advertised job openings across all sectors in the Hickory region grew by more than 200 from April to May to a total of more than 5,000, according to LEAD figures cited by the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

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