Unemployment high in Dare County, but things are improving

Dare County, N.C. (WTKR) – It’s a list where no one wants to be at the top.

Dare County had the highest jobless rate in North Carolina for the month of January with 14.5% unemployment.

County Manager Bobby Outten admits that the dead of winter, when tourism jobs dry up, is typically tough for Dare County.

“We expect that our unemployment numbers would be higher. We don’t want them to be that high,” Outten told NewsChannel 3′s Todd Corillo.

Tourism is a leading economic engine along the Outer Banks.

“We are heavily involved in tourism, all our people come here for that,” Outten explained. “Our retail activity, all of our sales taxes, occupancy taxes, all the revenue we get for the most part come from tourism generated.”

While unemployment in January was high, it has actually decreased compared year to year.

Unemployment in January 2014 was 14.5% for Dare County, down from 20.2% in January 2013, a decrease of 5.7%.

“The good news it’s all going in the right direction and it is gradually improving,” Outten stated. “If you use taxes and sales taxes and occupancy taxes and beverage taxes – all those kinds of things are on the up trend and have been for a year or more.”

Outten also points to the slow recovery of construction industry on the Outer Banks as positive news.

“They’re starting to come back and people are starting to build homes and businesses are starting to grow again and that’s all good,” Outten commented.

You can read the entire report from the North Carolina Department of Commerce by clicking here.