County jobless rate ticks down to 7.9 percent

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 04:56 PM

Union County’s unemployment numbers rose sharply in June and falling only a tenth of a percent in July, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Rates increased from 7.5 percent in May to 8 percent in June. In July, the rate fell to 7.9 percent. Of the 102, 594 members of the county workforce, 8,134 were unemployed.

That is still significantly less than the June 2012 rate of 8.6 percent or the July 2012 rate of 8.8 percent.

The statewide unadjusted unemployment rate for July was 9.1 percent.

Union was one of 81 counties that saw a June increase and a slight July decrease. It had the 20th highest unemployment rate in July out of 100 counties. For June, it ranked 13 highest.

Nearby counties fared worse. For July, Mecklenburg County had a rate of 9.5, Anson County had a rate of 11.4 and Stanly County had a rate of 8.8.

There is not one particular thing that triggered the June unemployment spike, Union County JobLink Career Center Manager Linda Ejlali said. No local companies have announced closings or layoffs.

“The only thing I can conclude is that after the quarter change, people who were not able to file an unemployment claim earlier because they had reached the limit for that quarter went and filed again,” she said.

In July, North Carolina cut unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to just 20 weeks, and from $535 weekly to $350. Changes also cut access to the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for people whose state-provided unemployment benefits run out. Legislators ended long-term unemployment benefits instead of borrowing more federal money to cover the claims. The move left 170,000 residents without a source of income.