Local unemployment good compared to national average

Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 6, 2012

There are 12.7 million unemployed people in the United States, according to the recently released June unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

The unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent for the nation, but in Pike County, the last reported figures (May) show the county at 6.8 percent.

“I tell everybody that Pike County, economically speaking, typically stays extremely stable in comparison to the national economy,” said Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation.

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To put 6.8 percent into perspective, there are 15,866 people in Pike County’s eligible workforce – 1,074 of those people were unemployed as of May.

“We are still doing extremely well during a bad economy and it’s still a bad economy, contradictory to what a lot of people say,” Gaylard said. “There are people still needing jobs. Until everybody who wants a job has a job, we are never going to be satisfied.”

Pike County is only behind 11 other counties in the state when it comes to unemployment numbers. Gaylard said Pike County’s success in comparison to the national average, and to the state’s 7.4 percent unemployment rate, is due in part to newer and existing industries.

“Hats off to them for surviving and actually prospering during an economy like we have now,” Gaylard said. “They are the ones creating jobs and opportunities for citizens in Pike County and surrounding counties.”

Area industry has even been able to expand operations during the last few years, Gaylard shared. And, just because Pike County is faring better than other places doesn’t mean Gaylard and others vying to attract industry to the county are relaxing.

“Even though our economy is a lot more stable and good compared to some of the counties around us and compared to the national average, that doesn’t stop us from doing what we are supposed to be doing,” Gaylard said. “We will continue to work to bring new jobs and new business to the county.”