September 2012 countywide unemployment map courtesy of the N.C. Department of Commerce.

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Still, 6 WNC counties post double-digit unemployment

New state figures on countywide unemployment rates show that September may have been a better month for Western North Carolina’s job seekers.

When compared to August unemployment rates, joblessness fell in all of the 18 westernmost counties of the state in September, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce, which released the latest rates on Friday.

When compared to September 2011, rates fell across every county in the state, figures show.

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Click to view full-size image. Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

The largest month-to-month decrease came in Rutherford County. Its unemployment rate fell by 1.7 percent to 12.5 percent, though the number is well above the statewide unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.

And despite the monthly decrease, 10 of the 18 counties still held rates above that statewide rate in September.

Cherokee, Graham, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford and Swain counties all still posted double-digit unemployment rates, with Graham County — at 14.7 percent — ranking second-highest in the state for unemployment.

But, the region also boasts some of the best unemployment rates in the state.

Henderson County’s rate, at 6.8 percent, is the forth-lowest in the state and the lowest across the region.

Also, the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area — a region made up of Madison, Buncombe, Henderson and Haywood counties — held the second-lowest unemployment rate, at 7.1 percent, among the state’s MSAs on a gain of 1,200 jobs from August through September, mainly in the government sector.

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Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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