Most WNC countywide jobless rates down, but majority still above state average


Graham County topped February unemployment rates across the state

February 2012 unemployment rates. Map courtesy of the Division of Employment Security. Click to view full-size image.

February unemployment rates released Friday by the Division of Employment Security showed that 13 of the state’s 17 westernmost counties saw a decrease in joblessness in February when compared with rates from a year ago.

Still, Graham County’s unemployment rate remains the highest among the state’s 100 counties, at 20.7 percent, which is more than double the state average of 10.1 percent. Its rate rose 1.4 percent in comparison to its rate in February 2011. Swain County came in third highest for the month, at 18.7 percent.

“A majority of North Carolina’s counties have lower unemployment rates compared to last year,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll in the division’s release. “While the over-the-year numbers are positive, we must continue our focus on job growth across the state. We have employment service offices statewide to assist customers with job search opportunities and other workforce-related programs.”

The largest fall in over-the-year rates happened in Henderson County, which also had the region’s lowest unemployment rate, at 7.7 percent. Its monthly rate was 1.4 percent lower than in February 2011.

The Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area, at 8.4 percent, was second-lowest among the state’s MSAs. Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties make up the MSA.

For more county-by-county numbers, see the below graphs.

Click to view full-size image. Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

Click to view full-size image. Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press





About the Author

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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