Rocky Mount feels unemployment pinch

December 2, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Unemployment is up all across North Carolina - and no city is feeling it harder than Rocky Mount. It has the highest unemployment rate of any metro area in the state, and finding a job is becoming more like finding a needle in a haystack."I'm caught between a rock and a hard place," explained Maurice Muhammad. "I've been out of work since March of 2008. I worked for the postal service for 15 years in New York."

He's been looking everywhere, but nothing seems to work out.

"Some places I go - fast food - they say I'm over qualified. If I go to the technical genre, I'm under qualified," he explained.

Wednesday, he was hoping a state-run job bank could find him a job to sustain his family.

"We have no savings whatsoever," he said.

The Rocky Mount area is one of the state's hardest hit economically.

"It's really tough right now for people to find employment," said Terry Anderson with the NC Employment Security Commission.

Rocky Mount has the highest unemployment rate of any metro area in the state - 9.6 percent. That's almost double that of Durham and the Raleigh/Cary area.

Terry Anderson with the Employment Commission says the city has lost a lot of manufacturing jobs over time.

"It's been a couple of years that we've had a hard time with employment," he offered.

"It's so bad that has Muhammad willing to risk his life for a job.

"I'm trying to get to Iraq to work. I know it's a war zone, but it's that bad," he said.

It's bad now, but officials say it won't last forever.

"Oh yes, we'll come out. Everything goes through a cycle, so yes, we'll come out," said Anderson.


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