Unemployment Still a Big Problem in Page County

LURAY -- A new report is out showing many areas of the Valley slightly above the state average for unemployment, which was recorded at 5.4% at the end of December 2012.

In Page County it was a much different story.

Unemployment is nearly twice that of the state and it grew by almost two whole percentage points from November to December alone.

Florhline Painter, who has helped people in Page County find jobs for the past 30 years, says it's likely due to a slow tourist season and downsizing at companies with offices in the area.

She said compared to many other areas in the Valley, Page County depends greatly on tourism.

However, Painter said fewer people are coming out to the area due to gas prices that continue to be high.

As a result, demand for help has gone down.

Also, Painter said both big and small businesses in the area are continuing to use more technology.

Typical jobs given to people are now being done by computers.

"On a daily basis, I walk in here and see them lose their stuff and their jobs that they've worked hard for all their life. It takes a toll on you," explained Painter, who runs the Workforce Job Center in Luray. "A lot of these people losing their jobs have been doing them for 20-25 years. It's a lot harder for them to learn all the new technology. Right now is one of the one worst times I've seen for jobs."

At the end of December 2012, unemployment in Page County was reported at 10.5%.

However, the figure only applies to people who qualify for unemployment benefits.

Painter says by taking into account the amount of people who have exhausted their benefits and don't receive those anymore, the number is closer to around 13%.

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