NC jobless rate bumps up to 11 percent in October

AP News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2009 1:05 PM

North Carolina's unemployment rate rose slightly to 11 percent in October, a fraction off its historic peak earlier this year and the ninth straight month in double digits, the state's Employment Security Commission reported Friday.

The jobless rate continued to hover around 11 percent, as it has for nearly all of this year. September's rate was 10.8 percent.

The state's unemployment rate in October 2008 was 7 percent.

"The most important feature is that it's not coming down, which verifies the fears of economists and the Obama administration that unemployment will continue to rise coming out of the recession," said John Coleman, an economist at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Though Wall Street has been on the upswing for months, companies remain cautious about building back their work forces because they continue to see worrying signs on the horizon such as the risk of rising inflation and tax rates, Coleman said. If the pattern of the current economic recovery sticks to the pattern set in the last two U.S. recessions, it would likely be many months before employment prospects improve substantially, he said.

Construction suffered the greatest job losses in October as employers shed about 6,600 North Carolina jobs. Government jobs saw some of the greatest employment growth, adding 5,800; education and health services added an equal number.

Since the recession started in December 2007, North Carolina has lost 240,100 jobs, the Employment Security Commission said.

North Carolina's unemployment rate has been worse than the national average for more than a year and that continued in October, when the U.S. figure was 10.2 percent.

North Carolina had the country's seventh-highest unemployment rate in October. Michigan was worst with 15.1 percent. South Carolina was fifth at 12.1 percent.