Unemployment drops in Asheville MSA

The Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area (including Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood and Madison counties) saw unemployment drop two percentage points in November to 3.5 percent, according to the latest statistics from the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

Of the four counties, Henderson saw the biggest unemployment decline, dropping from 4.3 percent in October to 3.4 percent in November. Buncombe’s rate remained unchanged at 3.5 percent, while Haywood’s rate rose three percentage points to 3.8 percent. Madison County’s jobless rate rose two percentage points to 3.8 percent.

Unemployment rates in most of North Carolina’s 100 counties declined or had no change in November. Rates declined in 40 counties and remained the same in 21.

“Employment has been strong all year throughout North Carolina,” said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr, in a release. “Since January, 89 counties have lower unemployment rates and employment (not-seasonally adjusted) has increased by 77,562 workers. We hope that this tremendous growth will continue into 2008.”

Four metropolitan statistical areas including Asheville’s experienced a decrease in rates, two increased and eight remained the same (see the list below). Forty three counties were at or below the state’s unadjusted rate of 4.6 percent.

Total county employment (not-seasonally adjusted) decreased for the second straight month in November by 4,828 workers from 4,333,665 to 4,328,837. Not-seasonally adjusted unemployment also decreased by 605 workers. The
unemployment total in November was 208,778 compared with 209,383 in October.

Unemployment rates in the metropolitan statistical areas for November were:

• Asheville — 3.5 percent, down from 3.7 percent in October.
• Burlington — 4.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent.
• Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC — 4.7 percent, no change.
• Durham — 3.7 percent, no change.
• Fayetteville — 5.0 percent, no change.
• Goldsboro — 4.5 percent, down from 4.6 percent.
• Greensboro-High Point — 4.7 percent, up from 4.6 percent.
• Greenville — 4.8 percent, no change.
• Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton — 5.7 percent, down from 5.8 percent.
• Jacksonville — 4.3 percent, no change.
• Raleigh-Cary — 3.5 percent, no change.
• Rocky Mount — 5.9 percent, no change.
• Wilmington — 4.1 percent, up from 3.9 percent.
• Winston-Salem — 4.4 percent, no change.

— Hal L. Millard, staff writer

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