MEDIA RELEASE: Joblessness increases in nearly half of NC counties

Scotland, Edgecombe counties have highest unemployment

RALEIGH (July 23, 2010) -- Nearly half (45) of North Carolina's 100 counties experienced an increase in their unemployment rate in June.  Of the remaining counties, 35 saw a decrease in unemployment, while 20 counties saw no change.

"While North Carolina has added jobs since March, many communities continue to struggle with a lack of jobs relative to those seeking work," said Alexandra Forter Sirota, a policy analyst with the NC Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center. "Perhaps more troubling is the fact that the labor force contracted statewide from May to June indicating that our measure of unemployment is not capturing all the distress in the economy."

Unemployment in North Carolina continues to show geographic disparities. Scotland (16.3) and Edgecombe (15) had the highest unemployment rates while Currituck (4.8) and Hyde (6.3) had the lowest rates.  These geographic disparities in unemployment compound longer term trends of economic distress that have burdened certain communities in the state long before the recession.

And 11 of the state's 14 metro areas also continued to shed jobs.  Charlotte had the largest net employment decrease at 6,100 followed by Greensboro/ High Point (2,800) and Raleigh/ Cary (2,300).

"These numbers highlight the need to drive job growth by generating demand for goods and services-fiscal aid to states can do just that," said Sirota. "The best way to get our economy running again is for Washington to provide fuel for North Carolina's economic engine."

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, 919.861.1468, Alexandra@ncjustice.org; Jeff Shaw, director of communications, 919.863.2402, 503.551.3615 mobile, jeff@ncjustice.org