NC unemployment hits new record

April 17, 2009 1:44:20 PM PDT
North Carolina's unemployment rate increased slightly in March to 10.8 percent. That according to statistics released Friday by the N.C. Employment Security Commission. The rate increased by a tenth of a percentage point over-the-month from 10.7 percent in February.

10.8 percent is the highest unemployment numbers have been since the current method of calculating statistics were adopted in the 1970's. Historians say the state's numbers were higher during the Great Depression.

Unemployment in North Carolina is expected to keep climbing through this year, leaving the question of how much higher the state's record-setting jobless rate will go.

Only four states are worse off than NC -- based on the March numbers.

The news was expected for many of the state's unemployed.

"Here we are looking for work at the worst possible time to be looking for work," unemployed worker Dale Pendleton said.

Over the past year, the national recession has led to hundreds of thousands of job cuts and layoffs in the Tar Heel state, boosting the state's unemployment rate to a record 10.7 percent in February. It crept up another tenth of a percent in March. Those numbers are the highest since the state started keeping records in the mind 1970s.

Thursday, a Garner K-Mart announced it is laying off 71 people. It's one of many companies in the state cutting back. The crisis has prompted Governor Beverly Perdue to create a new program, which will quickly train people who have lost their jobs.

The training will be for positions in health care, car repair, plumbing and food service.

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