LUMBERTON — Robeson County saw a slight increase in it’s unemployment rate, according to data released Friday by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
The unemployment rate went from 5.3% in December to 5.5% in January, the most recent month for which data is available.
Year over year, the county’s jobless rate improved by nearly a full percentage point. In January 2022 the jobless rate was 6.4%. Long range, the county has seen continued improvement, falling from a high of 11.6% in May 2020.
Among its closest neighbors, Robeson County’s unemployment rate was higher than most, although every county in the region showed an increase during the most recent reporting period, according to the Commerce Department.
Here’s how the region’s unemployment rate stacked up: Bladen County increased from 4.3% to 4.7%, Columbus County increased from 4% to 4.2%, Cumberland County increase from 4.8% to 5.2%, Hoke County increased from 4.5% to 4.9%, Pender County increased from 3.1% to 3.5%, Sampson County increased from 3.1% to 3.6% and Scotland County increased from 6.4% to 6.7%.
In fact, unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) increased in 99 of North Carolina’s counties in January 2023 and decreased in one.
Hyde County, on the Atlantic coast, had the highest unemployment rate at 10.1% while Greene, Buncombe and Orange counties each had the lowest at 3.0 percent.
All 15 of the state’s metro areas experienced rate increases. Among the metro areas, Rocky Mount had the highest rate at 5.4% while Asheville and Raleigh each had the lowest at 3.1%.
Closest to Robeson County, the Fayetteville metro area increased from 4.8% to 5.1%.
The January statewide rate was 3.7%.
When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates decreased in 71 counties, increased in 14, and remained unchanged in 15. Eleven of the state’s metro areas experienced rate decreases over the year and four remained unchanged.
“It is important to note that employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns; therefore, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in the not seasonally adjusted estimates,” according to the report released on Friday.
Also released on Friday was county level labor force data, which showed that Robeson County’s labor force increased by a little more than 500 workers, climbing from 47,685 in December to 48,213 in January.
Statewide, the labor force grew from 5,126,883 in December to 5,155,468 in January, an increase of 28,585 workers.
Statewide, major industries experiencing employment increases were Leisure & Hospitality Services, 4,900; Construction, 3,900; Government, 2,700; Education & Health Services, 1,900; Information, 1,700; Manufacturing, 1,400; Financial Activities, 1,100; and Other Services, 600. Major industries experiencing decreases were Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 2,100; and Professional & Business Services, 800. Mining & Logging employment remained unchanged.
Reach David Kennard via email at [email protected]