The Asheville metro area’s unemployment rose to 4.8 percent in May, a significant increase from April’s 4.1 percent. But the local rate was still better than the statewide rate, which hit a high of 5.8 percent, according to the latest statistics from the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
Unemployment rates increased in 92 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in May, according to the ESC. Six counties experienced a rate decrease while rates remained the same in two counties.
“A majority of the state’s counties experienced significant increases in May,” said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. sounding uncharacteristically down in his monthly report. “There are a lot of new entrants into the labor force at this time of the year which is making for a very tight job market. On top of that, we could be experiencing the effect that rising energy and fuel prices nationwide may be having on employment. We continue to receive job orders from employers in our local offices while at the same time also experiencing more traffic from job seekers.”
Over the past month, all 14 of the state’s metropolitan statistical areas experienced an unemployment-rate increase. Forty-seven counties were at or below the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.8 percent which increased from 5.1 percent.
Total county employment (not-seasonally adjusted) decreased in May by 4,543 workers from 4,302,076 to 4,297,533. Not-seasonally adjusted unemployment increased by 29,688 workers. The unemployment total in May was 262,235 compared with 232,567 in April.
— Hal L. Millard, staff writer