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State finds larger workforce in Surry County

March 20th, 2008 · No Comments

Surry County has more than 36,000 people in its resident workforce, the North Carolina Employment Security Commission says in its January employment report, and more than 33,600 have jobs.

Both numbers are significantly higher than previous estimates. Throughout 2007, the commission reported a local labor force of about 34,900 people with 33,000 people working.

The commission each year “re-norms” its estimates for workforce, employment and joblessness. “The recalculation is required to meet federal guidelines,” the Winston-Salem Journal reports. “The benchmark is a monthly population survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the national unemployment rate.

“One result of the annual benchmarking typically is a reduction in the nonseasonally adjusted work force within the state‚Äôs four metropolitan statistical areas. For example, in the Winston-Salem MSA, there were 2,700 fewer jobs listed for January compared with December…. The Greensboro-High Point MSA was listed with 5,000 fewer jobs, Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord MSA with 15,200 fewer jobs and Raleigh-Cary with 7,900 fewer jobs.”

If the commission’s numbers hold up, the size of Surry County’s labor force today is as large as it was in 2003 and employment actually is higher. During that four-year period, the county has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs. However, Surry County has had growth in government employment, service-sector sole proprietorships and limited partnerships, retailing, health-care occupations and the hospitality industry.

The county’s unemployment rate remains high and, in fact, jumped from 2,114 at the end of 2007 to 2,448 in January as workers laid off late last year exhausted any severance payments and began claiming unemployment compensation. The 6.8 percent unemployment rate is the highest since early 2004. Surry County now has the highest unemployment rate in the 12-county Piedmont Triad region, according to the Winston-Salem Journal’s article.

Tags: Workforce

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