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Production workers in North Carolina's manufacturing industries earned $8.48 an hour in October, up 28 cents over what they were paid one year earlier.

The N.C. ESC said the production line workers spent 40.7 hours a week on the job and had average weekly earnings of $345.14. This compared with 40.6 hours and $343.07 earnings in September and 40.8 hours and $334.56 earnings in October 1988.The number of production workers in manufacturing rose 1,500 over September to 686,300 in October but was down 1,900 from the year before.

The highest paid hourly wage earners were in cigarette manufacturing where the average was $19.30. The lowest paid were workers in apparel plants, who averaged $5.49 to $5.94 per hour.

Jobless claims up Claims for unemployment compensation by North Carolina workers in November were essentially unchanged from the month before but were up slightly from a year earlier.

The North Carolina Employment Security Commission said its offices handled a weekly average of 34,693 claims, a number that amounted to 1.2 percent of the 2.9 million workers covered by unemployment insurance. The claims rate also was 1.2 percent in October. It was 1.1 percent in November 1988.

In the Piedmont Triad area, Guilford County had the lowest claims rate, with an average of 1,903 applications handled weekly. This was 0.9 percent of the 223,657 eligble, the same rate as in October and up from 0.8 percent the year before.

Forsyth County had a 1 percent claims rate with an average of 1,412 workers out of 152,303 eligible filing for joblessness pay. This was down from 1 percent the previous month but up from 0.7 percent the previous November.

The ESC said the metropolitan counties of Durham, Mecklenburg and Orange had the lowest rate in the state at 0.5 percent. The highest claims rates were in coastal Tyrrell County (8.3 percent) and mountainous Graham (6.4).

Permit figures mixed Building activity in North Carolina's 45 largest cities and towns in October took a decisive upward turn in number of permits but plummeted in the value of construction authorized by the permits, according to the state Department of Labor.

The department, which compiles building permit figures from the municipalities, said 3,588 permits were issued in October, or 14.3 percent more than the year before. The dollar value of the construction authorized by the latest permits was $192 million - down 20 percent from the year before.

The higher number of permits reversed a trend that had prevailed during the first nine months of the year when the number of permits was down 3 percent.

A total of 836 permits was issued for single-family homes in October, up 5.6 percent. Multi-family units were up 68.2 percent with permits issued for 629 such units.

Permits for all new, non-residential construction totaled 640, up 18.3 percent, but the value of this was down 45.7 percent at $70 million.

Charlotte led all cities in value of construction authorized in October at $22.1 million. The Queen City was followed by Durham, $19.8 million; Greensboro, $19.1 million; Raleigh, $16.1 million; High Point, $15.2 million; Cary, $13.7 million; Fayetteville, $9.8 million; Wilmington, $8.1 million; Winston-Salem, $7.4 million; Greenville, $6.7 million; Burlington, $5.5 million.

The value of construction approved in other cities near the Piedmont Triad:

Asheboro, $266,000; Chapel Hill, $4,101,410; Eden, $413,707; Lexington, $217,572; Reidsville, $1,505,629; Thomasville, $806,141. ECONOMY

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