October 2014 unemployment across Western North Carolina. Map via the N.C. Division of Employment Security

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According to newly released data tracking October’s unemployment rates across the state’s 100 counties, Western North Carolina makes the headlines.

Graham County, home of Robbinsville, had the state’s highest unemployment rate for the month — 11.2 percent. It was one of three counties in North Carolina with an unemployment rate above 10 percent, where one out of every 10 workers is jobless.

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But in an area located a few counties over in WNC, the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area — made up of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties — posted a much different story for the month. The Asheville metro area recorded the lowest unemployment in the state, at 4.1 percent.

Overall, the statewide unemployment rate for the month was 5.5 percent, just below the national rate of 5.8 percent for the month.

And when considering the statewide rate, the 18-county region is nearly evenly split, falling above and below that state average. Nine counties fell below — with a total of six counties falling between 4 and 5 percent unemployment. Eight others were above — with Graham County the only one in the double-digits. One — Transylvania County — matched the statewide rate.

Overall, the data show that unemployment, compared to September 2014, fell in every county, with Graham and Swain falling one full percentage point.

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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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