Durham unemployment lowest since January 2009

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 04:24 PM

The unemployment rate in Durham County fell in August to 6.6 percent, the lowest the county has seen since January of 2009.

That’s according to preliminary data from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in the job market by the East Carolina University’s Bureau of Business Research.

The county’s rate was down compared with July’s seasonally adjusted rate of 7.2 percent and the rate of 7.7 percent seen in August of last year.

In Orange County, the seasonally adjusted rate was down to 5.3 percent, Chatham’s was down to 5.5 percent and Person’s was down to 8.7 percent.

The Durham-Chapel Hill metro area, which includes those four counties, saw its seasonally adjusted rate drop to 6.3 percent compared with July’s 6.8 percent and with August 2012’s 7.8 percent.

Employment grew by 2,079 workers for a total of 256,686 people in the metropolitan statistical area from July to August, according to the seasonally adjusted data, and by 2,671 year over year. The total number of unemployed people fell by 1,325 to 17,125, and by 3,254 year over year.

James W. Kleckley, director of the East Carolina University Bureau of Business Research, said in an email that the improvement seems to be in the state’s larger, more urban, regions such as the Triangle, Triad, Charlotte and around Wilmington and Fayetteville.
“These are the type of numbers that we would like to see on a regular basis,” he said. “Remember, this is only one month of data. I would be really happy to see these changes … several months in a row.”

Ted Conner, vice president for economic development and community sustainability for the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, was skeptical of the employment gains reported for Durham County in the one-month period.

According to the seasonally adjusted data, the county saw its employment total increase by 1,244 workers to 136,665 people and by 1,374 workers year over year. Meanwhile, its unemployment total decreased by 855 people to land at 9,606 compared with July, and by 1,699 compared with August of last year.

“I’m not sure that we saw a magnitude or scale of this change,” Conner said of the employment gains.

However, he said it’s still a sign of progress.

“I wish every month were of this magnitude, but time will tell,” he said.