Rates in 11 counties higher than state’s, but Asheville MSA’s rate is lowest in state
The latest county-level unemployment figures show a slight decrease in unemployment rates across most of the 18 westernmost counties of the state between June and July.
Emphasis on “slight.”
Rates decreased in 11 of the counties between June and July, with many of those decreases between .1 and .3 percent. Swain County saw the largest fall, at .9 percent.
There was a small uptick in unemployment in three WNC counties — Clay, Mitchell and Yancey — where the rates increased by .1 percent.
In four counties — Graham, Henderson, Jackson and Rutherford — the rates remained the same as in June.
“Rates either dropped or remained the same in most of North Carolina in July,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll, in a press release. “Compared to the same time last year, nearly all of the state’s counties have a lower unemployment rate. We will continue our statewide effort between employers, our workforce partners and our employment services offices to put people back to work.”
The statewide unemployment rate for the month was 9.8 percent. Eleven counties in the 18-county area had rates higher than that.
And the region is still home to some of the highest rates of unemployment in the state. Graham and Rutherford counties ranked second- and third-highest, at 15.2 and 14.5, respectively.
But the region’s largest metropolitan market, the Asheville metropolitan statistical area, boasted the state’s lowest unemployment rate in July, at 7.7 percent, just below the Durham-Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Cary areas. Net employment in Asheville fell by 1,600 between the months.
The Department of Commerce said that, overall, the number of workers employed increased by nearly 13,000 to nearly 4.25 million in July. That number is not seasonally adjusted.