The November unemployment numbers are out, and they're up for all 100 North Carolina counties. The state unemployment rate for November is 7.8%, up a full point from October. However, all of our surrounding counties are even higher than that, except for New Hanover County. In Brunswick County, 8.8% of the county labor force was unemployed in November, up from 7.1% in October. The Employment Security Commission Manager Eli Smith said there are several factors behind those numbers, from layoffs to a slow down in construction. "Residential homes construction work has stopped or slowed down in these areas at these times." This slowdown has left Ronald Jenkins, an electrician with 22 years experience, out of a job. He explained, "The contract business slowed down people weren't building new equipment in industrial facilities people weren't building homes." Despite the high unemployment rate in Brunswick County, it's still lower than Columbus County's 9.5%. New Hanover County's unemployment rate is lower than the state average at 6.9%. Smith said, "You have a lot more job opportunity across the river a lot more industrial opportunity in New Hanover County than what is available in Brunswick County at this time. We also have a much larger medical facility in New Hanover County; we also have the university there." Though it may look grim, Smith said the future is still promising in Brunswick County. "Even though residential construction is down we still have a very strong commercial construction place taking place right now." Smith indicated Brunswick County also has the space to support infrastructure growth which should draw in industries. Also, when the weather gets warmer tourism will pick back up, leading to more jobs.
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