The unemployment rate in Lincoln County experienced an increase from 7.1 in January to 7.2 in February.
Judi Morton, manager at Lincoln Countyâ€™s Employment Security Commission, said the rise is likely due to the layoffs that occurred at American and Efird plant in December.
With the recent announcement of Kawai closing in early 2005, more jobs will be lost in Lincoln County.
However, Morton said she does not think it will affect the unemployment rate that much.
â€œI think it will be a gradual thing,â€ she said. â€œI donâ€™t think it will have a significant impact.â€
The closing of Kawai will be a loss of roughly 38 jobs.
â€œI am going to miss the company very much,â€ Morton said. â€œThey have been very supportive in the community.â€
This has been the second company that has closed in Lincoln County in the last three months. Hayworth, Inc. Comforto Operations, makers of office furniture, announced in January that they would be closing down their Lincolnton plant.
Surrounding counties did not have a change in their unemployment rate. Catawba County stayed at the same rate of 8.5. Cleveland County also remained steady at 10.6 percent. However, Gaston County had a slight increase from 7.6 to 7.9 percent.
For the month of February, rates rose in 49 counties, fell in 30 and stayed the same in 21.
For the second consecutive month Hyde County had the stateâ€™s highest unemployment rate at 14 percent. For the fifth consecutive month, Watauga County had the stateâ€™s lowest rate at 2.9 percent. Orange Countyâ€™s unemployment rate was also at 2.9 percent.
The largest increase was in Jones County which rose from 3.5 to 5.3 percent. Graham and McDowell counties had the second highest increases. Graham rose from 10.3 percent to 11.6 percent. McDowell rose from 7.3 to 8.6 percent.
The stateâ€™s unemployment rate was 6.0, a slight increase from 5.8 for the month of January. by Amy Wadsworth