County data on unemployment claims expected soon


According to information released by the N.C. Department of Commerce on Friday, Warren County’s unemployment rate increased to 6.2 percent for the month of March.

The unemployment rate represented an increase from 5.4 percent in February.

The Department of Commerce cautioned that its March statistics were based upon activity prior to March 15 and do not reflect the full impact of shutdowns in North Carolina related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The March report counted the total labor force for Warren County at 6,504 people. Of those, 404 were unemployed.

Department of Commerce data show that the number of Warren County residents who hold jobs has fluctuated over the first three months of 2020. In January, 6,267 local citizens were employed. In February, the number rose to 6,371. The number of Warren County residents holding jobs fell in March to 6,100.

Over the three-month period, the number of local residents without jobs has fluctuated as well. In January, 413 Warren County citizens were unemployed. The number decreased to 367 in February before rising to 404 in March.

The March unemployment rate of 6.2 percent equals Warren County’s January unemployment rate. In February, the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.

Among counties bordering Warren, Northampton and Vance saw March unemployment rates at 6 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

Halifax County had the highest March unemployment rate among counties bordering Warren, at 6.4 percent. Franklin County’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent.

The Department of Commerce report suggests that unemployment rates in much of North Carolina were headed in the wrong direction before shutdowns related to the novel coronavirus began in mid-March. According to the report, the unemployment rate increased in 97 of the state’s 100 counties in March, decreased in two counties and was unchanged from February in one county.

Hyde County, at 13.1 percent, had the state’s highest March unemployment rate. Buncombe, Alexander and Orange counties tied for the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.4 percent.

The Department of Commerce’s next unemployment report, scheduled to be released on Friday, May 22, is expected to provide a clearer picture of the impact of the novel coronavirus on state unemployment.

In the meantime, the number and amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to North Carolinians over the past month and a half provides a glimpse of what is to come.

According to the Department of Commerce, 444,422 residents of North Carolina received $1.2 billion in unemployment insurance benefits between March 15 and May 4.

On Monday, Larry Parker of government and public relations in the department’s Division of Employment Security indicated that county-level data on unemployment insurance benefits claims is expected to become available soon.