EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS: Lee unemployment remains one of the highest in the state

Apr. 13, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

According to unemployment data released by the state earlier this week, Lee County still lags behind its neighbors — and most of the rest of the state — in the number of people who want a job but can't find one.

There were 2,090 people out of work but seeking employment in February, the report found, compared to a total labor force of 25,035. That's an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, the 75th highest rate out of all 100 North Carolina counties.

That 8.3 percent unemployment rate does represent a drop of nearly half a percent since last month, and a 3.7 percent drop from a year ago. So the trend is downward, which seems good on the surface. But it's really due to a combination of more jobs and people simply dropping out of the labor force and quitting their job hunts, and thus has mixed implications.

Chatham County had the second-lowest unemployment rate in the state, at 4.5 percent. Moore County was barely below the state average, with 6.5 percent unemployment, and Harnett County registered a rate of 7.6 percent.

In other news...

* If you want a new career, look into becoming an anesthesiologist. The people who administer and monitor anesthesia during surgeries make more per year ($235,070 on average) than the surgeons performing the actual procedures ($233,150). Those are the two jobs with the highest average salaries in America, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Labor. Also of note: The most common job is cashier/retail salesperson, which pays slightly above minimum wage on average. And planning to make it in sports? You better be the next Kobe Bryant. The highest-paid NBA player, he will reportedly have made more than what the average professional athlete makes in a year ($39,050) by midway through the first quarter of every game this year.

* As Salisbury-based Food Lion was awarded its 13th consecutive EPA Energy Star award, a Sanford company joined it and just three other companies from all of North Carolina on the list of award-winners. Pentair Aquatic Systems on Hawkins Avenue was named a Partner of the Year for using and promoting Energy Star products well.

* North Carolina-based Family Dollar has announced it will close down 370 low-performing stores while also permanently lowering prices on hundreds of items. No specific stores have been marked for closure yet, but the chain does have half a dozen stores in this area.

* Business fluctuations: In the last week, eight new corporations formed in Lee County — 6038 St. Andrews Drive, Alexandria Elle, First-Line Administration, Futurecorps for Education Foundation, Jehovah Jireh Group Home, Lagunas Service Solutions, Paramour Records and Sierra Alpha Specialized Staffing — and four were dissolved or withdrawn, including dwaPhotography, Estate Administration Services, Jersey Mike's Boxing and The Winter Group.

Have business news? Contact Will Doran at wdoran@sanfordherald.com or (919) 718-1217.