Biz Roundup: Rowan County’s unemployment rate improves slightly in October

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 2021

SALISBURY — Rowan County’s unemployment rate improved slightly from 3.8% in September to 3.7% in October, according to data released last week by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Unemployment rates decreased in 83 of North Carolina’s counties in October, increased in eight and remained unchanged in nine, with 13 of the state’s 15 metro regions experiencing better rates as well. The Charlotte metro region’s rate improved from 3.7% in September to 3.6% in October. Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 7.8% while Orange County had the lowest at 2.6%. The statewide unemployment rate improved from 3.8% to 3.6%.

The October unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted, meaning that seasonal hiring patterns have not been taken into account.

Rowan County’s unemployment rate has been on a steady decline in the past several months and October was no different. Rowan County’s October 2021 unemployment rate was down 3% from its October 2020 rate of 6.7% Of the county’s 66,167-person labor force, only 2,427 were without employment in October, which ranked No. 56 in the state, with No. 1 being the lowest unemployment rate. 

Rowan County’s improving unemployment rate was a factor in the county being upgraded out of the most-distressed tier in the state’s annual economic distress rankings for 2022.

Rowan County’s unemployment rate remained higher than that of neighboring counties. Stanly and Davidson counties both had a 3.4% unemployment rate while Cabarrus had a 3.3% rate and Davie was recorded as having a 3.2% rate. Iredell had a 3.5% unemployment rate.

Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Auxiliary Board announces officers for 2022

SALISBURY — The Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Auxiliary Board of Directors recently announced its officers for 2022.

At the board’s meeting on Nov. 18, outgoing President Nancy Linn recognized Carole Simmons as board president for 2022. Linn served for two consecutive terms and led the groups during the pandemic, which posed numerous challenges to the hospital, its employees and volunteers.

Jane Creech will serve as first vice president and Linn will be second vice president. Toni Kenerly will be secretary. Zandra Spencer will be treasurer.

The new board members are Dottie Clement, Jane Rowland, Grace Campbell and Barbara Sechler, who will join active life members Carolyn Hood, Barbara Waggoner, Blanche Glover and Carole Simmons. Gussie Ryan was recognized as an honorary life member.

The auxiliary was organized in 1976 and exists to help meet the needs of patients and their families. Through donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the auxiliary provides for assistance in indigent care, gifts to comfort children and helps the hospital make significant equipment purchases.

Under the management of Sandy Morrison, the Hospital Gift Shop volunteers make it possible to return the proceeds from the shop to help the hospital. The Hospital Gift Shop carries flowers, stuffed animals, drinks, candy and other merchandise. Chairing the Gift Shop Committee is Lou Hamilton with Assistant Chairwoman Sherry Wall.

The auxiliary is now in the midst of one of its primary fundraisers: the Tree of Hope project. Donations are being received this year by Teresa McKinney. The Tree of Hope fundraiser is held every holiday season and dates back more than four decades. People can donate to the Tree of Hope in exchange for a light to be placed on the tree in their honor or in honor of someone they choose.

Carolina Caring bolsters Home Health services with new nurse

SALISBURY — Carolina Caring has added a new nurse practitioner to its ranks.

Based in Catawba County, Carolina Caring is nonprofit health care provider specializing in programs that offer relief from chronic conditions and serious illnesses. It provides services to a 12-county region that includes Rowan.

Carolina Caring added Melissa Beaver to its House Calls program. Beaver earned her bachelor of science in nursing degree from Appalachian State University and a master of science with a concentration of adult-geriatric nurse practitioner studies from South University in Savannah, Georgia. She obtained her adult-geriatric nurse practitioner certification from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

She comes to Carolina Caring with 22 years of healthcare experience with over three years of experience as a board-certified practitioner and has worked in multiple settings, including hospice and palliative care. In addition to working with the Carolina Caring House Calls program, Beaver will also serve the organization’s palliative care program.

“I love going into the homes of my patients and spending time with them,” Beaver said in a news release. “We get to know each other on a more personal level than in an office, where patients can sometimes feel rushed.”

Beaver is a proud wife and mother of four children. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. 

For more information, visit CarolinaCaring.org/housecalls or call 828-466-0466.

Local businesses plan holiday festivity with toy giveaway, free food

SALISBURY — About two dozen local businesses are teaming up to host a holiday party and toy giveaway for those who are less fortunate.

Browns Athletic Apparel will join forces with other local businesses to host “Christmas on Innes” behind its store at 1917 W. Innes St. on Dec. 18 from 1-4 p.m.

Tranise Brown, the owner of Browns Athletic Apparel, said free food, music, drinks, Christmas carols and a toy giveaway will all be part of the event. Shoes will be given away to those who need footwear but cannot afford it. The Prancing Pearls dance team will perform as well.

A toy donation dropoff box will be located at 3005 S. Main St in the days leading up to the event. More information about “Christmas on Innes” can be found by calling Brown at 754-249-9048.

Deadline approaches for small businesses to apply for COVID aid from SBA

The U.S. Small Business Administration is continuing to accept applications for its COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program through the end of December, but SBA officials are encouraging businesses to apply as soon as possible.

Since its inception, the COVID EIDL program, a federal disaster relief loan designed to support our small business communities still reeling from the pandemic, has approved nearly $300 billion in relief aid. The SBA says there are still funds available.

The program will continue to accept applications until Dec. 31 and will continue to process them into the new year until funds are exhausted. However, the SBA may not be able to process targeted advance applications for EIDL loans submitted near that deadline due to legal requirements. Targeted advance applications are for businesses in low-income communities who have less than 300 employees and can demonstrate more than a 40% reduction in revenue. The SBA is encouraging businesses who may be eligible for a targeted advance loan to apply by Dec. 10 to ensure adequate processing time.

“The COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs still have billions of dollars available to help small businesses hard hit by the pandemic. More than 3.8 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have found financial relief through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” Patrick Kelley, associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access, said in a news release. “Key enhancements have been made to the loan program that will help our nation’s businesses recover and get back on track.”

The SBA will accept and review reconsideration and appeal requests for COVID EIDL applications received on or before Dec. 31 if the reconsideration or appeal is received within the timeframes in the regulation. This means six months from the date of decline for reconsiderations and 30 days from the date of reconsideration decline for appeals – unless funding is no longer available.

In September, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced enhancements to the COVID EIDL program. Key changes announced included increasing the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million and implementing a deferred payment period that gives businesses two years before they have to repay loans. Guzman also expanded the eligible uses of funds to include prepaying commercial debt and making payments on federal business debt.

Businesses interested in applying can visit www.sba.gov/eidl to learn more about eligibility and application requirements.

Small business owners may call SBA’s Customer Service Center 1-833-853-5638 (855-440-4960 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov for additional assistance. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Multilingual representatives are available.