Mecklenburg unemployment fell in February

Unemployment fell sharply in Mecklenburg County in February from a year ago, the state said Wednesday, as the size of the labor force grew slightly.

The county’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent. That’s down from 9.2 percent in February 2013, and below the statewide February unemployment rate of 6.6 percent.

Mecklenburg’s labor force was measured at just under 503,000 workers in February, up from about 501,000 the same month a year ago. The number of people counted as unemployed fell to 32,617, down from more than 45,000 in February 2013.

The amount of regular unemployment insurance claim dollars flowing into Mecklenburg also fell sharply, to $5.4 million. That’s down from $10.6 million in February last year.

In the Charlotte region, most employment sectors showed a gain in jobs in February. The number of construction, mining and logging jobs was up 7.9 percent from a year ago; trade, transportation and utilities increased 3.8 percent; financial activities were up 2.3 percent; leisure and hospitality increased 2.2 percent; and professional and business services increased 5.7 percent.

The number of manufacturing jobs, however, fell 0.7 percent, according to the state.

Graham County, in the mountains of Western North Carolina, had the highest unemployment rate in the state in February, at 13.8 percent.

Orange County had the lowest rate, at 4.4 percent.