High Country, Along With Most of State, Experiences Significant Drop in Unemployment Rate in April

Published Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm

By Jesse Wood

May 29, 2013. According to the latest unemployment statistics released by the N.C Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division, unemployment rates decreased in 97 of the 100 N.C. counties in April, and all 14 metro areas in the state decreased as well.

However, 32 counties in the state have unemployment rates above 10 percent, including Ashe and Avery County.

On the bright side, unemployment rates in Ashe, Avery and Watauga county all experienced significant drops in the latest monthly unemployment statistics and year-over-year changes.

Watauga County, which now has the 19th lowest rate, dropped to 7.9 percent in April from 8.6 percent in March. The year-over-year change decreased .2 percent as well.

Avery County, which ranks 83rd across the state, dropped to 11.1 percent in April from 12.2 percent in March. The year-over-year change in the unemployment rate in Avery County decreased .3 percent.

Ashe County, which ranks 81st across state, dropped to 11 percent in April from 12.1 percent in March. The year-over-year change decreased .7 percent.

Release on Latest Rates from N.C Department of Commerce

Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in 97 of North Carolina’s counties in April, increased in two and remained the same in one.  All 14 of the State’s metro areas experienced rate decreases.

Graham County had the highest unemployment rate at 15.9 percent while Orange County had the lowest at 5.3 percent.  Among the Metro areas, Rocky Mount at 12.3 percent experienced the highest rate and Durham-Chapel Hill at 6.3 percent had the lowest.  The April not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 8.5 percent.

When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates fell in 76 counties, increased in 19 and remained unchanged in five.  Twelve metro areas experienced rate decreases, while two experienced rate increases. 

The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) increased in April by 17,251 to 4,291,469, while those unemployed fell 19,921 to 398,043.  Since April 2012, the number of workers employed statewide increased 26,567, while those unemployed decreased 20,171.

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.


 

N.C. Justice Center: Fast Facts on Today’s Unemployment Numbers for Each Metro Area

The Division of Employment Security released new April unemployment numbers for each of North Carolina’s metro areas this morning. While the drop in unemployment across all 14 metros from March to April is certainly good news, seasonal fluctuations in hiring make the year-over-year comparisons from April 2012 to April 2013 far more important to watch.

Here are Five Fast Facts about how the state’s metros stack up against each other according to these new jobs numbers:

Fact 1. Top 4 metros with biggest drop in the unemployment rate since April 2012: 

  • #1 (Tie)—Hickory (dropped from 10.4 to 9.6)
  • #1 (Tie)—Asheville  (from 7.4 to 6.6)
  • #3 (Tie)—Charlotte (from 9.0 to 8.4)
  • #3 (Tie)—Raleigh (7.4 to 6.8) 

Fact 2. Top 2 metros for job losses since April 2012:

  • #1—Rocky Mount (-1.9 percent job growth)
  • #2—Burlington (-0.7 percent job growth)

Fact 3.  Top 5 metros with greatest nonfarm employment growth since April 2012:

  • #1—Asheville (3.6 percent job growth)
  • #2—Wilmington (2.7 percent job growth)
  • #3—Charlotte (2.5 percent job growth)
  • #4—Greenville (2.4 percent job growth)
  • #5—Jacksonville (2.1 percent job growth) 

Fact 4.  Top 3 metros with largest share of state’s employment growth since April 2012:

  • #1—Charlotte (26 percent of state’s job growth)
  • #2—Raleigh (7.8 percent of state’s job growth)
  • #3—Asheville (7.7 percent of state’s job growth)

Fact 5. Top 3 metros for manufacturing job growth since April 2012:

  • #1— Greenville (4.3 percent increase in manufacturing employment)
  • #2—Raleigh (3.4 percent increase in manufacturing employment)
  • #3—Fayetteville (2.2 percent increase in manufacturing employment)

“Bright spots in this month’s report include Hickory recording the biggest drop in unemployment, Wilmington seeing the second highest overall job creation, and Greenville’s expanding manufacturing sector,” said Allan Freyer, Public Policy Analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. “Nonetheless, much of the overall progress in the state’s economy is clearly not being shared evenly across all the state’s metros—job losses over the last year in Rocky Mount and Burlington are especially concerning.” 

While the long term trend in the state’s economy is clearly moving in the right direction, much of this progress is not being shared evenly across all of the state’s metros.

unemployment county rankings

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