August unemployment rates in Western North Carolina. Image courtesy of the N.C. Department of Commerce

When it comes to finding the state’s arguably best and worst locations for finding a job, Western North Carolina was home to both in the month of August.

New county-by-county unemployment rate data from the N.C. Department of Commerce showed that the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area — comprised of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties — had the lowest unemployment rate among the state’s 14 metro areas. It was 5.3 percent.

Henderson County — at 5.1 percent — boasted the lowest unemployment rate among the 18 westernmost counties of the state. It was also the fourth-lowest statewide.

But Graham County — with a rate of 13.4 percent — had the highest unemployment rate, both in Western North Carolina and among the state’s 100 counties.

According to the department, nine North Carolina counties had rates of 10 percent or higher for the month. The statewide rate was 7 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate for the month was 6.1 percent.

The number of workers employed statewide for the month decreased by nearly 69,000, to a total workforce of 4.3 million, according to a department press release. Overall, the department continued, the state’s workforce has increased by 8,700 since August 2013.

August 2014 unemployment
August 2014 unemployment

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

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