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August Jobless Rates Stay About Same for Local Counties


By Jesse Wood

Oct. 3, 2014. For 74 of the counties in North Carolina, unemployment rates increased in August. In 12 counties the rate decreased, and the remaining 14 counties saw no change in its jobless rate.

The unemployment rate for counties in the High Country – Avery, Ashe and Watauga – collectively remained the same in August compared to the prior month.

Ashe County’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 7.7 percent, which happens to be an improvement of 1.6 percent over the year.

Avery County’s jobless rate increased by 0.1 percent, sitting at 7.1 percent, which is an improvement of 0.8 percent over the year.

Watauga County’s jobless rate decreased by 0.1 percent and for the month of August is 6.4 percent. That is an improvement of 0.6 percent over the year.

The county with the highest unemployment rate was Graham County at 13.4 percent, while Currituck County, with the lowest jobless rate in the state, had an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent for August. The state average is 7 percent for August.

“The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in August by 68,930 to 4,327,564, while those unemployed increased 188 to 324,599. Since August 2013, the number of workers employed statewide increased 8,700, while those unemployed decreased 46,311,” a release from the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce noted.

For over-the-year rates, the jobless rate decreased in 96 counties, increased in three and remained the same in one. All 14 metro areas have decreased over the year.

“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.”

The N.C. Justice Center, a left-leaning research and advocacy organization, called the latest jobs report “tough” for the state’s metros, where nine out of 14 metro areas have yet to see jobs return to pre-recession levels.

“It’s hard to call the state’s economy a ‘success’ when only five of the state’s metros have created enough jobs to get back to where we were five years ago or when it will take three of the state’s metros more than a decade to return to pre-recession employment levels,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the Budget & Tax Center.

See the entire report here.

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