City, county unemployment rates fall
City and county unemployment rates fell in October as the holiday shopping season opened the door for people looking for work.
According to statistics released by the N.C. Division of Employment Security Tuesday, Thomasville's unemployment rate fell from 9.7 to 9.6 percent in October, marking a third straight month of decline as more people continue finding work.
Pat Hillard, manager of the Division of Employment Security's office in Lexington, said seasonal hiring around the holidays often leads to a drop in the unemployment rate. Hillard said people are hired in retail and food services for the holiday shopping season this time of year.
"I can't say where the employment is, I don't know of one place, but this is the holiday season and a lot of people are hired for the Christmas season," Hillard said. "This is not uncommon for people to have holiday jobs or seasonal positions."
Thomasville's labor force increased to 12,325 last month, the highest its been since December 2007, and the number of employed people — 11,136 — is the most in the city since December 2008. The Chair City's unemployment rate reached a Great Recession-high of 13.6 percent in January 2010, when more than 1,500 people couldn't find work. In October, the number of unemployed people in Thomasville registered 1,189.
Davidson County reported an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent in October, which also marks a third consecutive month of decline and the lowest rate since November 2008. The county's labor force jumped by 578 workers to 80,499 and the number of employed people spiked by 717. Davidson County's labor force is the largest it has been since November 2006, when the unemployment rate was 6 percent. The number of employed people in the county is the highest since January 2008. Statistics also show the number of unemployed people in Davidson County, 7541, is at its lowest mark since January 2009.
"We would love to see those numbers continue," said Hillard.
North Carolina reported an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, down from 9 percent in September. Guilford (9.1 percent), Randolph (8.4) and Forsyth (8.2) counties also experienced slight dips in unemployment rates.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.