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

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Still, 1 of 3 NC counties with double-digit unemployment located in mountains

Monthly data released by the N.C. Department of Commerce shows that September may have been a good month for job seekers across most – but not all – of the 18 westernmost counties of North Carolina.

Unemployment fell for each of the counties between August and September of this year. And when comparing to joblessness a year ago, the rates for 17 of the 18 counties also fell. The statewide unemployment rate for the month was 6.1 percent. Ten of the 18 westernmost counties were at or below the statewide rate for the month.

Among the state’s 14 metro areas, Asheville’s Metropolitan Statistical Area has the lowest unemployment rate for the month. It was 4.4 percent. The metro area is made up of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties.

However, Graham County is the only county in the state with an unemployment rate higher in September 2014 than it was in September 2013. And with unemployment reaching 12.2 percent there in September, Graham is also the only county in the region with unemployment in the double digits. It also had the highest unemployment rate in the state for the month.

According to the department, North Carolina’s workforce increased by 45,670 during the month, bringing that statewide number to nearly 4.5 million. Those unemployed decreased by 41,683 to nearly 283,000, according to state data.

The statewide unemployment rate for October will be released on Nov. 21.

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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