Despite job losses in the public sector, unemployment declined in the Asheville metropolitan area in July, part of an overall downward trend over the past year.
Unemployment in the area dropped from 7.9 to 7.7 percent, according to statistics from the state’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division. The metropolitan area includes Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Haywood counties. The area has seen a consistent decline over the past year, with unemployment down almost a full percentage point from July 2011, leaving it with the lowest unemployment of all the state’s metro areas (Durham-Chapel Hill had 7.9 percent unemployment in July).
In July, Buncombe had an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, Henderson 7.3 percent, Madison 9.3 percent and Haywood 8.3 percent.
However, the area lost 1,600 jobs during the same time period, with the loss of 2,300 government jobs more than offsetting modest gains in the professional, manufacturing and hospitality sectors. The numbers do not reflect seasonal adjustments in employment.