7-28-2021 – End of school jobs masks other growth

Posted on: July 28th, 2021 by admin


July 28, 2021



By Guy Lucas guylucas@newstopicnews.com

July 28, 2021


Seasonal factors tied to the end of the school year pushed up local unemployment rates across the state in June, but employment in economic sectors other than government went up, a new state report shows.


Caldwell County’s unemployment rate increased by half a percentage point from May, to 5.1%, but a large majority of the state’s 100 counties saw a similar-sized increase, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported. The only county where the unemployment rate did not increase in June was coastal Dare County, where the end of the school year brings a surge in tourism-related business.


Local unemployment rates typically surge after the school year ends due to the number of jobs that run just from the start of the school year to its end.


The rates in neighboring Burke and Catawba counties increased by 0.4 of a percentage point, to 4.6% in Burke and 4.7% in Catawba.


But in its breakdown by economic sector, LEAD showed that jobs either held steady or increased in most parts of the overall Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan statistical area’s economy.


Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said that if you look past the seasonal employment swing, the report is good news.


“This month’s report shows good growth in the labor force with an increase of 612 and good growth in the number of people employed with an increase of 416,” she said. “All in all this remains a decent report with incremental employment growth.”


Manufacturing jobs across the region increased by a half percentage point from May to June, continuing a long-running recovery from the spring 2020 job losses that followed the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturing was the sector hardest hit locally by the pandemic.


Leisure and hospitality – the sector that was second-hardest hit locally and hardest hit overall statewide – gained about 1,000 jobs in the Hickory region, an increase of more than 7% from May, the report said.


Because the change in unemployment was similar across the state, the overall Hickory region maintained its standing as having among the lowest unemployment rates in the state. The area’s combined rate for June was 4.7%, tied with Charlotte for fifth-lowest of the state’s 15 metropolitan statistical areas.

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