Unemployment rate drops; some jobless giving up - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Unemployment rate drops; some jobless giving up

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The unemployment numbers say the job outlook is improving. But the reality is different for thousands who are still out of work.

According to North Carolina Department of Commerce, the state's jobless rate fell two-tenth of a percent to 8.7% last month.

The fact is North Carolina actually lost a total of 3600 jobs in August. Unemployment dropped because - mainly because thousands of people dropped out of the workforce.

Like Nancy Greene.

"I think it's a lot of us that gave up" says Greene. "So we aren't counted in the numbers anymore. We aren't drawing unemployment."

Greene says "I'm not looking for full time employment anymore." 

The Conover resident says she searched for a job for five years, after the company where she worked for 23 years as an engineer let her go.

She survived on her severance while she job hunted. Greene says she eventually turned to her savings, social security, and a part-time job teaching at a community college.

She does not believe she will get a full time job because she says her resume tells prospective employers she's a "senior citizen."

Greene says there are too many people competing for few job openings.

"And it's really exhausting to try to look for jobs week after week and not even be able to even get a call back on your application – no matter what your degree is or how much experience you have" says Greene.

But Governor Pat McCrory is urging the unemployed not to give up.

The Governor says his administration needs to find out why some people are not getting hired. He says his team is putting policies in place to reduce the unemployment rate long term.

Governor McCrory says he's not satisfied with one month drop.

He wants to see more companies hire workers - like the one he toured Friday afternoon in Catawba County.

The Governor was in Conover for a dedication at Lee Industries. The company manufactures high end upholstery furniture, and is surviving the economy. Lee Industries moved it's headquarters to Conover earlier this year.

"This year we hired 62 new associates" says Norman Coley, President of Lee Industries Inc. "Since we started this project in December 2011 we've hired 144. We have a total head count of 604."

Coley says the company made it through the recession because they decided to make custom-ordered furniture with products that last longer and are eco-friendly. So while this business is working – others are struggling.

Companies like Jo-Mar Spinning in Belmont is laying off workers. The plant is closing its doors at the end of the month....putting 145 people out of work.

The President of Jo-Mar says business conditions forced the closing. He says there's just not enough business to support the yarn spinning.

Back in Catawba County, Conover resident - Jeff Mateyuna would love to find a job.

"Frustrating" says the 44 year old who lost his full time job at the beginning of the year.

Now, his full time work is at the library's computer – going through job postings.

Mateyuna says "not many places are hiring" and when they are - there are "10 applicants for one job."

Mateyuna says he has no choice but to keep looking.

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