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Mecklenburg County jobless rate back over 10 percent

SoVaNow.com / July 31, 2013
Mirroring the trend around the state, unemployment in Southside Virginia took a turn for the worse in June, with Mecklenburg’s jobless rate climbing back into double digits after coming down earlier this year.

According to the Virginia Employment Commission, the county’s seasonally unadjusted jobless rate in June was 10.5 percent, up from the May rate of 9.9 percent. Mecklenburg County unemployment has returned to levels last seen at the beginning of the year, when two major local industries ceased operations — Home Care Industries and International Veneer. (Home Care, in La Crosse, has since reopened under new ownership.)

Mecklenburg was not alone in seeing its jobs situation worsen. Halifax County’s unemployment rate rose from 9.3 percent to 10 percent, and the rate in Brunswick County jumped eight tenths of a percent from 9.6 percent in May to 10.4 percent in June.

The VEC offered no explanation for the climb, something its economists have done in the past, often attributing ups-and-downs to seasonal factors.

At the same time, the data continue to show more people entering the work force. Mecklenburg County added 19 workers to its civilian labor pool — the number of people either working or actively looking for jobs — and Brunswick County added 26 between May and June. Only nearby Halifax County saw its labor pool decline, by 43 people.

Mecklenburg also remains near the bottom of state rankings for unemployment, coming in 127th out of 134 cities and counties in Virginia. Brunswick and Halifax counties do not fare much better: Brunswick is still ranked 126th, and Halifax is 124th.

Of the three counties, only Brunswick saw the number of available jobs increase between May and June. It added an additional 26 jobs.

The leisure/hospitality and construction industries continued to add jobs in Virginia and in Mecklenburg, Halifax and Brunswick counties, according to the Commission’s labor management information.

The jobless rate in the Southside region, which averages at 10.3 percent, remains far above the national rate, which ticked up to 7.8 percent in June.

Elsewhere, Southside Virginia counties reported the following unemployment rates in June:

Charlotte County, 8.7 percent, up from 7.8 percent in May

Lunenburg County, 8.8 percent, up from 8.3 percent in May.

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