WNC sees employment drop in June

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June 2012 unemployment rates for the state’s 17 westernmost counties can be seen here. Image edited from a N.C. Department of Commerce map released Friday, July 27.

Countywide unemployment rose in 13 of North Carolina’s 17 westernmost counties while staying the same in two, according to rates released by the N.C. Department of Commerce on Friday.

“Over-the-year numbers are showing a positive trend compared to the June numbers,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll. “Since June of last year, rates are down in nearly all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Job announcements continue to be made across our state and we remain focused on getting people back to work. Working with employers statewide and providing assistance in our employment service offices is critical to finding opportunities for our customers.”

From May to June, unemployment increased in Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain and Yancey counties, while remaining the same in Jackson and Transylvania counties.

The statewide rate of unemployment rose to 9.9 percent from May’s revised rate of 9.5 percent.

Though most of Western North Carolina saw unemployment rise into May, yearly rates mirrored the rest of the state. Avery and Mitchell were the only counties that saw an overall increase in unemployment from the same time last year.

However, Graham and Rutherford counties were still second and third among N.C.’s highest rates of unemployment – the same positions they occupied last month.

Rutherford County’s unemployment rate increased .6 percentage points from last month but was down .5 percentage points from the same time last year.

Graham’s unemployment rate did continue to drop – by half a percentage point between May and June – due to seasonal work, and was down .6 percentage points from June 2011.

Eight of the 17 westernmost counties had unemployment rates below the state average of 9.9 percent, a decrease from last month. Those counties were Buncombe, Clay, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, Polk and Transylvania counties.

Unemployment in the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area rose .3 percentage points to 7.9, though it still has the lowest rate of unemployment among the state’s 14 MSA’s.

Its unemployment rate was down .8 percentage points from the same time last year.

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Hank Shell

Hank Shell is a contributing reporter and photographer with Carolina Public Press. Contact him at shelljh@email.appstate.edu.

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