Unemployment rises in Asheville area

Unemployment in both the Asheville metropolitan area and Buncombe County rose in May, according to state figures that show unemployment ticking up to 9.2 percent for the metro area and 8.8 percent for the county.

Figures released by the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina show unemployment rising from 9.0 to 9.2 percent in the Asheville metropolitan area — a state designation that includes Buncombe, Madison, Henderson and Haywood counties — with 18,996 people unemployed. Buncombe County fared a little better, with 8.8 percent of the labor force unemployed, up from 8.6 in April. The state figures show 10,611 unemployed in Buncombe.

While the numbers showed a 5.1 percent increase in jobs in the Leisure and Hospitality sector (an important industry in the Asheville area, especially in summer) and small increases in the transport and government sectors, manufacturing and professional jobs continued to decline, by .5 and .7 percent respectively. So far this year, the ESC estimates the area’s lost around 8,100 jobs, with the manufacturing, construction and professional fields taking the biggest hits.

However, the Asheville area still seems better off than the state as a whole, which had 11.1 percent unemployment in May. The highest unemployment rate occurred in March, when the rate hit 9.6. percent for the metropolitan area and 9 percent in the county.

“There’s usually a small increase [in unemployment] around this time of the year as college students get out into the labor market,” ESC spokesperson Larry Parker told Xpress. “But on top of that, you’re still having some lingering layoffs, and those are driving it up, though things are better than they were earlier this year.”

Asheville hasn’t seen unemployment rates like this since the ESC began using its current measurements in 1990. Before this year, the highest recorded unemployment rate for the Asheville area was 7.8 percent, recorded in January 1992.

“Overall, most counties haven’t seen rates like these since 1983,” Parker noted.

The area’s not alone in facing the effects of economic upheaval. Eighty-two counties in the state showed unemployment increases, while neighboring McDowell County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, at 16.5 percent.

— David Forbes, staff writer


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12 thoughts on “Unemployment rises in Asheville area

  1. Andrew Fletcher

    The regional context is great – but what about a comparison to state and national numbers?

  2. jeff turner

    this isnt news to the folks ,were the ones who have lost the jobs,,oh my arent you the smart ones

  3. frustratedangryunemployed

    the facts and statistics are no indication of the systemic employment crisis WNC is in. Merely reporting on the statistics is a cop-out. Where is all the social involvement and out cry that AVL prides itself on? This area is in crisis but it seems not to be “trendy” to do something about it.

    We need solutions not bitter sarcasm brought to you by Mr. Nesbitt, who in his own way, actually help create this problem by supporting an unsustainable political agenda for the sole purpose of personal gain.

    Grow the F*** up Mr. Nesbitt.

  4. Biff Johnston

    Hey, I thought His Holiness, The Messiah, Barak Hussein Obama was supposed to fix all our problems with the stimulus package? Oh, you measn he gave the big banks billions of dollars of OUR money, didn’t require them to use that money to make loans, so the banks just “banked” the dough for a rainy day? HUH? Obama is smart? I don’t think so. The guy talks well, but that is all. If the banks won’t lend to small business, there will be no job recovery. I would say His Holiness is walking down the street with no clothes on and doesn’t know it. But most of the rest of us see. And I am not surprised that certain areas are diminutive.

  5. randy t

    Dubya Bush and his cronies created this whole mess, as well as all the other messes we are in overseas. thanks GOP, you guys screwed it up and left a bunch of sh**t piles for the people to clean up. good job.

  6. SpoutingHorn

    Well, that means we need more new taxes, need to raise existing taxes, more government borrowing and more government spending, because we all know that only the Government can get us out of this huge economic mess we’re in!

  7. travelah

    Yes, Bush is responsible for every crack addict’s diarrhea as well as every unemployed man’s unpaid electric bills.

  8. Piffy!

    Really, I thought you guys were attributing all that to Obama. That and the weather.

  9. Tom

    Biff: “And I am not surprised that certain areas are diminutive. ”


  10. PatD

    I feel so lucky.
    We have the smart ones among us, so do not worry. The Biff Johnstons and Nesbitts will surely fix things. After all, they are contributing so much positive to our world. If only the rest of us could see how intelligent these people really are.

    Oh c’mon. It’s not because our brainless moronic republican (ex)president backed by a totally corrupt GOP, dumped this country into the dismal state that it is today, that we need not to trust republicans. They really have our best interest at heart, really they do.
    So what if they are caught lying, cheating and stealing once in while?
    Who cares if most of them are totally incompetent old farts leading hypocrite lives?

    It’s not all that bad to have a closed fearful mind. A little racism, some homophobia, a bit of intolerance, it’s all good as long as you work for your own personal gain, that of your cronies and the good ol’boy network.
    Oh yes, and go to church, important too, very. Make sure you get washed of all your sins so you can start fresh each time and you know you have God on your side. The suckers on the other side of course never do.

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