LAURINBURG, NC(WWAY) — As the Democratic Party collects in Charlotte, the GOP candidate for governor in North Carolina went to Scotland County this afternoon. The topic isn’t who’s running for the job of president, but where are the jobs in North Carolina?
Scotland County has the highest unemployment rate in North Carolina at 17.6 percent. The community in Laurinburg agrees that this high number affects the entire community.
“People love this community and aren’t anxious to leave it,” said store manager Terry Gallman. “But I think you end up having to go out of the community to find a job because we are small and we don’t have enough to offer.”
Many businesses have closed and jobs are hard to find here. Some folks say they have to drive for hours to find work.
“It takes me two hours to get to work,” said Lonnie Robison. “I have to go all the way to Wilmington just to work because there’s nothing around here.”
The lack of jobs may mean more than just an economic impact on the region.
“It’s hard for everybody to find a job and I feel like it coincides with crimes that are being committed,” said Robison. “People’s houses are getting broken in to stuff like that because people don’t have any work and people want to eat.”
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Pat McCrory visited a plant in this mostly Democratic county Tuesday to address the unemployment problem. He says a stronger connection between businesses and those without jobs is necessary.
“We need a long term economic development plan out of the Governor’s Office which is going to try to connect the unemployed with needed workers at plants such as this,” said McCrory.
McCrory agrees the problem is bigger than just a lack of work. He says it goes all the way inside the pocket of tax payers.
“My goal is to get these people off unemployment not only for their sake but for the sake of the tax payer of North Carolina,” said McCrory.
McCrory says the state owes more than two billion dollars to pay off unemployment but it doesn’t have the money. He says that’s another problem that needs to be solved quickly.