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Stanly’s June unemployment falls to 6.3 percent

While the coronavirus continues to spread in Stanly County, the county did receive welcome news as it saw a significant decline in the number of people out of work for June, according to new county-specific data from the state’s Department of Commerce which was released Wednesday.

Stanly had 1,893 people unemployed in June, which translates to a 6.3 percent unemployment rate. A total of 29,918 people were employed. The rate is far better than May, when the unemployment rate was 10.2 percent and 3,133 people were jobless.

Even though the county looks be trending in the right direction, the county economically is still nowhere near where it was in June of last year, when the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.

A total of 344 people in Stanly have been temporarily laid off this year due to the virus, according to data from the state’s current Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification report.

“The improved unemployment rate is certainly encouraging for our county and I am optimistic that the unemployment landscape will continue to improve as hospitality and entertainment businesses are allowed to increase operations when North Carolina moves into Phase III of reopening,” said EDC director Candice Lowder.

“Obviously with the governor’s rollback of his stay-at-home order, you’ve got more businesses that are open and so that’s allowing folks to get back to work and collect a paycheck,” said County Manager Andy Lucas, who added that there’s a “multiplying effect” to people getting back to work and then having money to further stimulate the economy.

As more people venture outside their homes to shop and eat at local establishments, Lucas is “cautiously optimistic” that the unemployment rate will continue to decrease and “we hope that we can get to the point where all businesses are open fully as soon as possible.”

Lucas mentioned that with Charlotte Pipe and Foundry moving from Charlotte to Oakboro, which will invest at least $325 million in the county and employ a minimum of 400 people, and the continued widening of N.C. Highway 24-27, there have been opportunities to increase the workforce in the county.

Stanly’s June unemployment rate matched up favorably against the rest of the state, ranking 21st out of the 100 counties. Stanly was tied with Union and had a lower rate than all the other nearby counties in Charlotte metropolitan area. It also had a lower rate than two of its four peer counties, with only Chatham and Carteret (both 5.9) posting better totals.

North Carolina’s jobless rate also declined dramatically in June as well. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment fell from 12.8 percent in May to 7.6 percent for June, as the number of people on the job grew by 227,500 to more than 4.4 million people overall.

The federal employment rate dropped to 11.1 percent from 13.3 percent and the economy gained 4.8 million jobs, a significant increase from the 2.5 million jobs added in May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of people in Stanly who filed initial claims also decreased in June compared to past months. Stanly had 437 people file COVID-19 related initial unemployment insurance claims (out of 792 total initial claims) compared to the 694 people who filed in May and the 1,779 people who filed in April.

Of the total numbers of initial claims that were filed, women filed 415 while men filed 377. Of those filing for unemployment, 468 were white, 235 were Black, 53 were of another race and 36 were labeled as “race unknown.” Within the numbers, only 17 people were Hispanic.

The people who filed the claims were predominantly younger, with those ages 25 to 34 filing the most claims at 243 followed by those 35 to 44 (150 claims), 45 to 54 (140 claims) and people less than 25 (127 claims).

The three industries most impacted by the pandemic in June were manufacturing (191 claims), unclassified or unknown (176 claims) and trade, transportation and utilities (94 claims).

More than 95,000 North Carolinians filed COVID-19 related initial claims in June, much lower than the roughly 162,000 who filed in May and the 400,000 who filed in April. More than 2 million claims have been filed in the state since March 15.

In a letter released July 16, Gov. Roy Cooper asked the state’s congressional delegation to back another federal coronavirus relief package that contains more money and flexibility for local and state governments to fill anticipated revenue shortfalls.

Cumulative city and county tax collections are projected to be $1.25 billion below prior expectations in the fiscal year that began July 1, Cooper wrote, while state coffers also are expected to fall $2.6 billion short of previous projects.

He wrote that due to the pandemic, the state is unlikely to return to “previously expected 2020 revenue levels until at least 2023.”

Stanly has already received $1.27 million from the state for coronavirus-related needs and is expected to receive another $1.23 million. The money is part of the $400 billion the state received from the federal government as part of the CARES Act Relief Fund.

The county has more than 850 confirmed coronavirus cases along with 17 deaths.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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