June 2014 unemployment rates. Map courtesy of the N.C. Department of Commerce

New countywide data released by the N.C. Department of Commerce show that, by in large, joblessness fell across the 18 westernmost counties of the state between May and June — arguably the start of tourist season across the mountains.

But for three of those counties, rates remained the same or increased slightly that month. Mitchell County’s rate of 7.6 percent remained the same as in May. Clay and Rutherford counties both posted slight increases of .1 percent. Clay County’s monthly rate for June was 6.5 percent. In Rutherford County, the rate was 8.7 percent.

The Asheville metropolitan statistical area, which is comprised of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties, posted the lowest monthly unemployment rate of all 14 MSAs in the state. With a rate of 4.9 percent, unemployment in the Asheville MSA dropped .2 percent from May and 1.7 percent when compared to June 2013.

The statewide unemployment rate for the month was 6.5 percent, which was later revised to 6.4 percent. Considering whether countywide unrevised rates were above or below the state’s, the region’s 18 counties were nearly evenly split. Nine were below, with the lowest rate posted in Polk County, at 4.7 percent. One — Clay County — was the same. The remaining eight were above the state average, with Graham County posting the highest unemployment rate across the region, at 9.8 percent.

The state Department of Commerce also reported in its release on the data that the number of workers employed in North Carolina decreased in June by 26,751 to nearly 4.4 million. Those unemployed decreased by 10,225 to 303,122.

The department also said Monday that the state’s seasonally adjusted July unemployment rate was 6.5 percent, increasing 0.1 of a percentage point from June’s revised rate. The national rate increased 0.1 of a percentage point to 6.2 percent.

June 2014 unemployment
June 2014 unemployment

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Angie Newsome was 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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  1. I dont understand why rutherford county cannot bring other businesses into the area. Wal mart is not the only business. Target. Applebees bed bath and beyond olive garden. This is why many people go to spartanburg s.c
    Seems like it would make more sense to bring in businesses to help the people who are out of work to get jobs. Wal mart pushed k mart out. Not right having them pushing others atound. I have lived here since 1984 and i have seen mant things move in but we need more
    I think moving forward building more businesses would really hep rytherford county
    Thank you.

  2. Please always provide the statistics to include the long-term and no longrr receiving unemployment. There are thousands more than the government is reporting.