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Despite better national numbers, local job market still tough

READ MORE: Despite better national numbers, local job market still tough

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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