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FIRST ON 3: Wilmington unemployment rate now at 11.6%

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RALEIGH — Unemployment rates increased in 99 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in January, according to statistics released today by the state’s Employment Security Commission. Lee County remained the same at 14.6 percent. The ESC began to pay on the Tier IV extension of benefits to over 40,000 claimants this week. This tier of benefits will help provide up to six more weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.

“The current economy continues to influence nearly every major job sector, mainly in Manufacturing and Construction,” said ESC Chairman Lynn Holmes. “In our local employment offices, we see, as well, the impact on our citizens. The action by Congress to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program and the latest implementation of benefits will assist thousands more as they continue to look for work.”

North Carolina had 41 counties which were at or below the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate of 11.8 percent. Rates increased in all 14 of the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

Total county employment (not-seasonally adjusted) decreased in January by 7,077 workers, to 3,990,829. Not seasonally adjusted unemployment increased, by 41,831 workers. The unemployment total in January was 532,279 workers, compared with 490,448 in December.

Orange County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in January, at 6.9 percent. Meanwhile, Graham County had the highest unemployment rate, at 19.3 percent.

The five counties receiving the highest amount in regular unemployment insurance benefits in January were: Mecklenburg, $23.6 million; Wake, $18.8 million; Guilford, $11.7 million; Forsyth, $7.3 million; and Gaston, $6.2 million. In January, $233.7 million in regular UI benefits was paid to 237,759 individuals statewide, compared to $213.5 million to 218,772 individuals in December.

Unemployment rates in the metropolitan statistical areas for January were:
Asheville — 10.1 percent, up from 8.8 percent in December
Burlington — 13.2 percent, up from 12.1 percent
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC — 12.8 percent, up from 12.1 percent
Durham-Chapel Hill — 8.4 percent, up from 7.7 percent
Fayetteville — 9.8 percent, up from 9.3 percent
Goldsboro — 9.9 percent, up from 9.2 percent
Greensboro-High Point — 12.3 percent, up from 11.4 percent
Greenville — 10.8 percent, up from 10.1 percent
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton — 15.8 percent, up from 14.8 percent
Jacksonville — 8.7 percent, up from 8.2 percent
Raleigh-Cary — 9.5 percent, up from 8.7 percent
Rocky Mount — 14.7 percent, up from 13.9 percent
Wilmington — 11.6 percent, up from 10.6 percent
Winston-Salem — 11 percent, up from 10 percent

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