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That Doesn’t Look Good: Unemployment Rates in High Country – Ashe, Avery, Watauga – Rise 1 to 2 Percent

By Jesse Wood

March 22, 2013. According to new unemployment figures per county released by the N.C. Division of Employment Security, unemployment rates increased in all 100 counties in the state in January.

While the state’s unemployment rose .1 percent to 9.4 percent in January from December, unemployment figures in the High Country rose significantly.

  • Watauga County rose 1.1 percent to 9.5 percent in January. This represents a .6 percent increase over the year.
  • Ashe County spiked 2.1 percent to 13.8 percent in January. This represents a .8 percent increase over the year.
  • Avery County rose 1.5 percent to 13.7 percent in January. This represents a 1 percent increase over the year.

escESCAs it stands right now, Watauga has 5,468 unemployed workers; Ashe County has 1,652 unemployed workers; and Avery County has 1,072 unemployed workers.

76 of the counties in the state have an unemployment rate of 10 percent or more. 24 counties have a rate in between 5 and 10 percent, while no counties have a rate lower than 5 percent.

The national rate sits at 7.9 percent. It rose .1 percent over December.

According to the release, “When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates dropped in 30 counties, increased in 63 and remained unchanged in seven.  Four metro areas experienced decreases, while eight experienced increases and two remained the same.

“The number of workers employed (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in January by 30,998 to 4,255,318, while those unemployed rose 37,412 to 482,822.  Since January 2012, the number of workers unemployed increased 14,640, while those employed increased 68,375.

“It is important to note that employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns; therefore, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in the not seasonally adjusted estimates.”