Despite a generally unsteady economy nationwide, the local unemployment rate eased in April, with the Asheville metro area seeing a decrease to 4.1 percent from 4.4 percent in March, according to the latest statisctics from the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
Of the approximately 1,000 jobs added in the Asheville metro area in April, half were in the hospitality and leisure industries. The other big gainers were the professional/business services and educational/health-services industries, each adding 200 jobs.
Statewide, unemployment rates dropped in 80 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in April. Eleven counties saw unemployment rates increase while rates remained the same in nine counties. Over the past month, 11 metropolitan statistical areas experienced an unemployment rate decrease, one increased, and two remained the same. Forty-two counties were at or below the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.1 percent, which dropped from 5.3 percent.
“Nearly half of North Carolina’s 100 counties are below 5 percent unemployment,” said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. in a release. “While we are pleased about a large number of counties experiencing a rate decrease, we need to be cautious with the current national economic conditions. Higher fuel prices can have an impact on employment. The good news is that North Carolina continues to announce new jobs and business expansions around the state.”
— Hal L. Millard