Asheville area unemployment drops to 7.1 percent on job gains

Unemployment in the Asheville area dropped to 7.1 percent — among the lowest in the state — in September, as the government, educational, and health sectors gained jobs.

According to information from the state’s Employment Security Division, the Asheville metropolitan area — Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties — gained a net total of 1,200 jobs that month. That puts the Asheville area’s unemployment at the lowest in the state after Durham/Chapel Hill. Since last September, the area’s gained a net of 2,400 jobs, with gains in the professional/business, education/health and leisure/hospitality sectors offsetting losses in manufacturing and construction.

Buncombe County’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.6 to 7.1 percent during the same month. Henderson County’s dropped as well, from 7.5 to 6.8 percent. Both counties have among the lowest unemployment rates in the state. The numbers are not adjusted to reflect seasonal shifts in employment. Statewide, unemployment declined in 97 of the state’s 100 counties.

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