Jobs numbers worsened across the state in July, according to data from the state’s Employment Security Commission, and the Asheville area was no exception, losing a total of 2,900 jobs, mostly from the public sector. While unemployment in the area declined slightly, combined with the net job losses, this indicates some unemployed have stopped looking for work.
“All metropolitan areas across North Carolina experienced a loss in government employment, mainly in educational services,” ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes said in a statement introducing the numbers. “The goal of Gov. [Bev] Perdue, the ESC and our workforce develop- ment partners, is to grow jobs and put people back to work.”
The Asheville metropolitan area, including Buncombe, Haywood, Madison and Henderson counties, lost 3,100 government jobs — 12.1 percent of the area’s government workforce — in July. While the manufacturing, transport and leisure/hospitality sectors saw increases, they weren’t nearly enough to offset the massive losses in the public sector. Professional services and the education/health sectors also saw smaller job losses.
Despite the losses, the Asheville area’s unemployment declined from 8.3 to 8.1 percent in July. However, as unemployment numbers only count those looking for work, combined with the job losses this indicates that some unemployed have simply given up looking for a job or left the area.
Buncombe County saw unemployment drop from 8.2 to 8 percent in July.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter