WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The latest unemployment numbers are out, and it doesn't look good for the millions struggling in this tough economy. Unemployment in November was up in 99 of North Carolina's 100 counties. In our area, the unemployment rate jumped 0.9 percent.
For those coming in and out of the Employment Security Commission building in Wilmington, they say those new unemployment numbers are real as they try to keep their heads above water in this struggling economy.
"Budget cuts. They cut my hours," Takelia Johnson said. "I couldn't live that way. I come up here to unemployment to try and make ends meet."
A struggling mental health worker, Johnson is not seeking unemployment benefits this time around, but her recently laid-off boyfriend is. Johnson is all too familiar, though, with the struggles that come in a tough economy. She said her career field makes it hard for her to get steady work, being laid-off numerous times in one year.
Johnson said she's proof unemployment numbers can go up and down at any time. But the Employment Security Commission said the latest numbers that show a near one-percent increase in the Wilmington metro area should not be a major cause for concern. Director Walker Biggs said over the past 20 years the month of November always sees an increase, ranging from 0.25 to 0.5 percent.
"Any unemployment is not good," Biggs said. "We've seen that, and compared to last year, we're still 0.3 below last year."
But say that to someone who's newly unemployed like marble and tile installer Dennis Lafferty. After 20 years with one company, he was let go.
"He was a pretty good guy, and then all of a sudden... bam! Like he turned his back on us," Lafferty said.
He said with many people already out of work upwards of two years, as someone newly unemployed, he is worried.
"There ain't nothing out there," Lafferty said.
Nothing but hope the economy turns around soon.
Orange County had the state's lowest unemployment rate in November at 5.9 percent. Meanwhile, Graham County had the highest rate at 18.6 percent.