Asheville has second lowest unemployment rate for N.C. urban areas

Asheville has the second lowest unemployment rate of all North Carolina urban areas, according to a PDF report released on July 28 by the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina. Durham/Chapel Hill’s rate is 8 percent, compared to Asheville’s 8.2 percent.

And Buncombe, Henderson and Polk counties have the lowest unemployment of Western North Carolina counties, the report shows.

The following chart and table compare North Carolina’s metro-area unemployment rates:

Employment growth in Asheville is being driven — over the year — by the leisure and hospitality sector, and pulled down by the mining, logging and construction sector as well as the information sector. Here’s the break-down, looking at changes over the year and over the month:

Asheville shows the fastest improvement in employment of any metro area when the change is viewed over the month. Metro-area changes in unemployment are shown two ways below.

A county-by-county view of unemployment:

In WNC, the rates show that unemployment increased slightly for most of the region’s 17 counties between May and June, according to an analysis of the report by Carolina Public Press. Across the region, the rate held steady for only one county, Graham, the report notes. The top increase was in Rutherford County, which increased one percentage point, pushing the rate to 14.6 percent and the third highest unemployment in the state in June.

Across the state, unemployment increased in 91 counties, three remained the same, and six decreased. Seven WNC counties had rates higher than the statewide rate of 10.4 percent.

To download the full PDF report from ESC, go here.

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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