Unemployment in Davidson County increase

Jul. 09, 2014 @ 02:44 PM

A month after all but one county in the state saw unemployment rates decrease across the board, 92 of those same 100 counties – including Davidson – endured increases in May, according to data released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Davidson County's unemployment rose to 6.8 percent for the month of May, an increase of five-tenths of a percentage point from 6.3 in April. The entire region experienced a slight uptick from the previous month, but experts believe that the numbers can be explained as seasonal outliers rather than actual regression.

Instead of dwelling on month-by-month statistics, Larry Parker, public information officer with the N.C. Division of Employment Security, believes larger sample sizes more accurately reflect the direction of the local economy.

“What we saw in May is typical due to seasonality,” he said. “Labor forces typically increase as those seeking summer work enter the labor force. Usually this is students, graduates and those in general who look for work during the summer months. Because of the increase in the unemployed in the labor force, this tends to cause the rate to increase for the state and most of the counties during the summers months.”

Continual economic growth throughout the county and state has recently fueled optimism in the private and public sectors that the economy is emerging from a decade of recession. Kim Genardo, director of strategic and economic development communications for the N.C. Department of Commerce, believes the increase in unemployment pales in comparison to the economic strides made both locally and across the state.

“We've been ticking down every month,” Genardo said of the unemployment rate. “Since January 2013 to May of this year, 95,400 net new jobs across the state [were created]. We're digging out. We're not all the way out yet, but we're getting there.”

Davidson County has sustained a pace of steady progression over the span of a year that bodes well for its overall long term. In May 2013, 9.5 percent of the labor force was unemployed. Despite the increase this month, that still means county unemployment has decreased 2.7 percent in 12 months.

The county’s labor force also continued its ascent and climbed to 78,080, up from 77,002 last month.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 847-9911, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.