NC's unemployment rate is growing

January 31, 2009 10:02:35 AM PST
Across the Heart of Carolina more than 88,000 people are out of work, but some areas are getting hit a lot harder than others.Wake County's unemployment rate is 6.1 percent, which adds up to around 26,832 people who are without a job. In Durham, 6.2 percent or about 8,364 people are also without a job.

Orange County has the lowest unemployment in the state with 4.8 percent, equaling about 3,249 people. However, Cumberland County is one of the highest in the state with 7.9 percent or around 9,957 people.

Those numbers come as Cumberland County is about to lose its last textile plant. MJ Soffee announced Thursday it is laying off more than 100 workers.

This is the highest unemployment in a quarter century. Local employment security commission officials say they are seeing a disturbing trend developing in the workplace.

"Resources are drying up, people don't have to money to spend to go to these stores, restaurants, things of that nature," said Glenn McQueen with the Employment Security Commission.

"With the economy being the way it is and prices, there is no way you can live on minimum wage, no way at all," said Khalit Harley, an unemployed worker.

Harley says he will have to take whatever job he can get and hope for something better to come along.

Employment security officials say that may not happen for a while. A recent study shows that more than 19,000 jobs will be created by the relocation of forces command to Fort Bragg and other military growth. But that won't happen until 2013.

Meanwhile across the country, companies are announcing tens of thousands of layoffs.

Home Depot is planning to lay off 7,000 people. The home improvement company says it will also close four dozen stores.

The communications company Sprint Nextel says it is cutting about 8,000 positions. While computer chip maker Intel is also planning 6,000 layoffs.

General Motors announced this week they are slashing another 2,000 jobs. As local Caterpillar employees are heading to work wondering how much longer they'll have their jobs too. The company announced its cutting 20,000 jobs globally.

Nearly 3 million Americans have lost their jobs since the beginning of last year.


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