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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New data from the US Labor Department show signs of hope for the job market. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits nationally dropped to its lowest since 2008. But is the Cape Fear seeing a similar situation?

For many the numbers don’t lie, which is why many economists across the nation say the job market is looking better. New data says the number of people applying for benefits fell last week to 366,000. This is the lowest this number has been since may 2008.

“We’re kind of not hitting what the national trend is so much here, ’cause we’re still seeing some business shutting down, we’re seeing some business hiring. We got kind of a mixed bag right now,” said Walker Biggs, director of the Division of Employment Security office in Wilmington

Biggs says while many are happy to see this recent data, the reality here in the Cape Fear is that the area continues to struggle.

“It’s hard to put your finger on what really is going on, ’cause you got somebody that is doing some hiring, then we got somebody that is laying off. Probably a net gain right now, but that’s up and down,” Biggs said.

For those who have become all to familiar with the Employment Security office on Market Street, they shake their head at the reports of a brighter national job market.

“It may be going up in some places, in bigger cities, but not here” Debra Chadwick of Wilmington said. “I think it’s pretty much the same here. I haven’t seen any difference or heard of any difference myself.”

While the Cape Fear may not be on par with the rest of the nation, there are some expectations that things will get better.

“It’s tough right now, but it’s going to get better,” Biggs said. “We’ve got a lot of different things to offer in this area for businesses to come in so we will continue to see growth.”

State data from the first week of December shows that North Carolina ranked second for the biggest increase in applications with more than 15,000.

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3 Comments on "Despite better national numbers, local job market still tough"

Numbers game
2015 years 10 months ago

Ask the people that were laid off over 2 years ago how the job market is working out for them. They have either exhausted their benifits and taken a job working for far less pay or working part time with no benifits. Ask the new company that just came to town a few weeks ago how many people they let go right off the bat and how many more are gonna lose their jobs to keep the profits flowing out of state.

2015 years 10 months ago

If you are looking for professional work in Wilmington and surrounding counties, you will never have much opportunity.Fortunately, I am lucky to say I work for a large corporation based else where they permit me to travel while residing in Wilmington.This area is a low paying retail hub.The local politicians are too selective about the type of industry(no port,no Titan)that comes to the area.The economy is not diversified enough therefore residents will continue to have low paying,low skill work.
I would encourage college-educated people to relocate to larger metro areas.

2015 years 10 months ago

Industry will not locate a substantial enterprise in a coastal location due to inherent transportation issues. The coast is the end of the road. Especially today with transportation costs skyrocketing, efficency with transportation is a major cost consideration. In the majority of coastal cities, there is no “spider network” of interstates or rail systems to allow for effective product distribution. We are lucky in New Hanover county to have a few strong industrial facilities, but even those can’t come close to the demand of available workers. Look at Myrtle Beach for example. If you aren’t in the tourist service or real estate industry, you’re going to starve. Even some of those do. Coastal communites with large ports normally do much better than the average, but with all of the NIMBY’s in the area, that is heavily opposed in our local area…so far.

The real fact of the matter isn’t only jobs, it’s how well those jobs pay and how dependable thay will be. It’s likey the National jobs report is including the vast amount of temp workers and part timers needed to fulfill holiday demand. Until the foreclosure rate subsides and people start being able to spend what little money they can get, this country is going nowhere. I don’t care what the “jobs report” says, that’s nothing more than smoke and mirrors clearly intended to get votes in the upcoming election.


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