Surry County’s jobless rate fell significantly in August, providing some much-needed relief for a county that has been reeling under the weight of double-digit and nearly double-digit unemployment in recent months.
In August, Surry County reported an 8.7 percent jobless rate, down nine-tenths of a percent from the July rate of 9.6 percent, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security (DES).
The county reported 2,802 people out of work out of a civilian labor force of 32,294.
In July, the county reported 3,173 people seeking work.
Tony Mizzi, manager of the Surry County Workforce Center, said that while the numbers are promising, much of the decrease can be attributed to college students returning to class.
“What you’re looking at here is a small drop in the labor force that is a result of the end of summer,” he said. “There are people going back to school and taking themselves out of the labor force, causing the drop.”
But Mizzi said there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
“On the positive side, we’re looking at Willow Tex starting to take applications,” he said. “The local unemployment office is working with their human resources department, assisting them in recruiting workers.
“We’re also hoping that in the near future Awesome Products will start taking applications for their production people as well,” Mizzi added. “Positive things are on the horizon.”
Stokes County also saw a drop in its jobless rate, falling near a half-percent from its July rate of 7.9 percent. The county reported an August unemployment rate of 7.5 percent.
The neighboring county reported a civilian labor force of 23,867, with 22,080 workers employed and 1,787 civilians seeking work.
In July, Stokes County reported 1,903 workers seeking a job.
Yadkin County also reported a steep drop in its unemployment rate, falling seven-tenths of a percent to an even seven percent jobless rate.
The county reported 1,324 civilians out of a job out of a labor force of 18,827.
In July, Yadkin County reported a 7.7 percent jobless rate, with 1,463 workers seeking a job.
Like other counties in the region, Alleghany County’s jobless rate also fell in August, dropping to 8.5 percent from the July rate of 9.2 percent.
Alleghany County reported 383 workers unemployed out of a labor force of 4,531, the DES reported.
In July, the county had 436 residents seeking work.
Wilkes County reported the highest jobless rate in the region in August, coming in at 9.5 percent, but the August numbers are still good news for the county, which reported a 10.1 percent unemployment rate.
The Wilkes County numbers reflect 2,768 workers out of a job out of a labor force of 29,135.
In July, Wilkes County reported 3,127 workers seeking employment.
Statewide, North Carolina’s unemployment rate mirrored Surry County’s 8.7 percent, decreasing two-tenths of a percent from July’s rate of 8.9 percent.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.