Beaufort County adds jobs in March | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Unemployment figures for March 2011, released today by the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, show Beaufort County's unemployment rate improving for the second-consecutive month.

     Since Beaufort County's unemployment rate peaked at 11 percent in January 2011, it has started to drop off, from 10.8 percent in February, to 10.2 percent in March.

    The significance of this drop is especially poignant, in that Beaufort County is not only reporting less unemployment claims filed for the past two months, but is actually posting an increase in new jobs, with the number of employed increasing from 18,056 in January, to 18,242 in February, to 18,563 in March.

    The addition of 321 jobs throughout Beaufort County from February to March is atypical, even along with the improving unemployment rate. For example, even though the unemployment rate improved from 10.8 percent in November 2010 to 10.5 percent in December 2010, there was a contradictory decline in the number of employed, from 18,148 in November, to 17,772 in December.

    This increase in the number of jobs couldn't have come at a more opportune time, either. Just a week-and-a-half ago, on Apr. 16, the federal Extended Benefits program, implemented October 2008, which provides 20 extra weeks of benefits to qualifying unemployed, ended in North Carolina, reducing the maximum number of weeks for which a North Carolina resident can file for unemployment benefits is set to be reduced from 99 to 79.

    North Carolina was barred from the Extended Benefits program when February 2011's unemployment rate, combined with the previous two months' rates, were high enough to trigger ineligibility from the program, which was intended for states with the most downtrodden jobs markets.

    Beaufort County's March 2011 unemployment rate still exceeds the rates posted by North Carolina and the United States for that same period. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for North Carolina for March 2011 was 9.7 percent; and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the United States for March 2011 was 8.8 percent.

     Unemployment rates similarly decreased in 98 other North Carolina counties in March. Greene County is the only county that posted an unemployment-rate increase from February 2011 to March 2011, from 10 percent to 10.5 percent. Greene County, however, is not the North Carolina county with the lowest unemployment rate. That dishonor goes to Graham County, which is battling an unemployment rate of 16.4 percent. Orange County had the state's lowest unemployment rate in March, at 6.1 percent.

    To file an unemployment claim, you may file online at; or, to file a new initial claim call 877-841-9617.
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