Unemployment statistics in the Wilmington area for June showed slight gains over the previous month but remained well below those of June 2015, according to the latest figures from the N.C. Department of Commerce.
For New Hanover County, the rate (not seasonally adjusted) in June this year was 4.8 percent compared to 4.3 in May and 5.6 in June 2015, a news release said.
Brunswick County’s rate had dropped from 7.3 last June to 5.8 in the same period this year, but increased from 5.5 in May, while Pender’s declined from 6.3 to 5.3 in June, according to the release. Pender’s rate in May was 4.9 percent.
Federal agencies consider a rate of 4.8 percent to indicate full employment.
But in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s July 2016 Economics Barometer, local economists said focusing only on “the headline number”
– such as New Hanover’s 4.8 percent in June – ignores remaining weaknesses in labor markets that include part-time workers who want to be full time and potential workers who have given up on the job search.
The Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s rate increased slightly from 4.4 to 4.9 percent from May to June, but dropped from 5.7 percent in June last year. The state figures for the Wilmington MSA, which consists of Pender and New Hanover counties, showed that the highest gains in jobs in June came from the leisure and hospitality sector.
Unemployment rates increased in 96 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties in June compared to May, with the highest reported in Scotland County at 9.2 percent and the lowest, 3.9 percent, in Buncombe. The Asheville MSA, which consists of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties, showed the lowest rate, 4.1 percent, of all of the of the state’s 15 MSAs, according to the report.