Ad Spot

May 8, 2021

Rowan’s unemployment rate up slightly at start of 2020

SALISBURY — Rowan County started out 2020 with a slightly worse rate than one year earlier and with a higher unemployment rate than its neighboring counties and the state of North Carolina.

Rowan County’s unemployment rate is currently 3.8%, not seasonally adjusted, according to data released from the North Carolina Department of Commerce. When a number is not seasonally adjusted, it means it hasn’t yet accounted for large seasonal patterns.

North Carolina’s rate is 3.7%. Counties including Cabarrus, Davie, Iredell and Davidson fall in line with or better than the state rate. The U.S. unemployment rate at the end of 2019 was 3.5%.

The estimates come from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program, which is a federal and state cooperative initiative. To calculate the unemployment rate, the number of unemployed persons must be divided by the total number of people in the workforce. The North Carolina Department of Commerce released the December county and area employment figures on Feb. 5, without seasonal adjustments. Since the employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns, the department advises to focus on the over-the-year changes.

Rowan County ranked 62nd in over-the-year changes — seeing its unemployment rate increase by .1% — while Davie and Cabarrus counties saw their numbers decrease and received a ranking within the top 20 — at 14th and 17th, respectively.

Rod Crider, president and CEO of the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, said it’s typical for Rowan County to be “a nudge or two” higher than surrounding counties. But he doesn’t cite the slight increase as an area for concern because the rate is still low and local businesses are hiring.

Crider added the 0.1% or 0.2% worse rate can serve as a positive attribute when attracting businesses because it shows Rowan County has a larger available workforce than its neighboring counties.

Cause for concern would arise if the overall unemployment rate was at least one or two whole points higher, he said.

Eric Hake, economics professor and dean of the Ketner School of Business at Catawba College, said several factors can account for why a community’s unemployment rate can worsen despite the economy doing well. Those reasons could be a change in the number of people in the labor force or a change in the number of people looking for jobs who previously weren’t looking or included in previous years.

Additionally, Hake said, though the unemployment rate is lower than it has been in decades, wages could stay stagnant, which affects the overall economy.

It’s most important, Hake said, to judge behavior over time.

In Rowan County, the unemployment rate steadily decreased from 4.5% in 2019 until April. Then, it increased until June 2019, and has since decreased to its unadjusted rate of 3.8%. Neighboring counties seemed to follow a similar trend, with higher unemployment rates in the spring and/or summer months. Crider said the higher unemployment rates in the summer can derive from businesses’ summer hiring practices. And retailers often hire additional help in the latter part of the year to prepare for the holidays.

The unadjusted employment rates for other counties nearby are as follows:

  • Cabarrus: 3.1% (not seasonally adjusted)
  • Davidson: 3.3% (not seasonally adjusted)
  • Davie: 3.0% (not seasonally adjusted)
  • Iredell: 3.2% (not seasonally adjusted)

Out of 100 total counties, Buncombe, Orange and Watauga counties ranked among the top three best rates of unemployment, all falling below 3%. Hyde, Scotland and Tyrell counties ranked within the bottom three. Hyde County’s unemployment rate, unadjusted, is 9.7%.

The next unemployment update will be released on March 16. Then, the January 2020 numbers will be released.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at (704) 797-4246.

Comments

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras