Unemployment rates rose in 11 of the 17 westernmost counties of North Carolina last month, according to data released today by the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

And among the counties with the highest non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in August, Rutherford and Graham counties had the third- and fourth-highest rates in the state, respectively. In Rutherford County, the unemployment rate was 14.8 percent, down 0.1 percent from July. Graham County’s rate was 14.6 percent, up 2 percent from the previous month.

Not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates are not adjusted for seasonal hiring fluctuations. The Employment Security Commission revises previous month’s data on the basis of instructions from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Rutherford and four other counties in the region — Jackson, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey — had unemployment rates that decreased. In Avery County, the unemployment rate of 10.1 percent remained unchanged from July.

Henderson County had the sixth-lowest rate in the state with a rate of 8 percent. Of all the metropolitan areas in North Carolina, the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area, or MSA, had the second-lowest rate in the state with 8.4 percent. The Asheville MSA consists of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties.

North Carolina’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.4 percent. Nationally, the United States had an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Currituck County had the lowest unemployment rate in August in North Carolina with a rate of 4.5 percent, according to the state agency. The county with the highest unemployment rate was Scotland County at 17.6 percent.

Unemployment rates in August for each of the 17 westernmost counties in North Carolina were as follows:

  • Avery: 10.1 (unchanged from July)
  • Buncombe: 8.4 (up 0.4 percent)
  • Cherokee: 13.4 (up 0.1 percent)
  • Clay: 10.2 (up 0.2 percent)
  • Graham: 14.6 (up 2 percent)
  • Haywood: 9.4 (up 0.1 percent)
  • Henderson: 8 (up 0.4 percent)
  • Jackson: 8.4 (down 0.4 percent)
  • McDowell: 12.8 (down 0.2 percent)
  • Macon: 10.3 (up 0.3 percent)
  • Madison: 9.1 (up 0.2 percent)
  • Mitchell: 11.5 (down 0.3 percent)
  • Polk: 8.2 (up 0.4 percent)
  • Rutherford: 14.8 (down 0.1 percent)
  • Swain: 11.1 (up 0.3 percent)
  • Transylvania: 9 (up 0.1 percent)
  • Yancey: 11.6 (down 0.4 percent)

For more August unemployment information, view the N.C.Employment Security Commission’s media release.

Editor’s note: The agency also announced today that the Employment Security Commission office in Murphy is moving to a new facility. The last day of service for the Cherokee County office at 642 Andrews Road in Murphy will be Sept. 27.  The office will be closed Sept. 28 and 29, reopening about two miles away at 800 U.S. Highway 64 West at at 8 a.m., Sept. 30.

In an agency media release, Regional Manager Jim McMahan was quoted as saying: “The move to the new office will allow us to better serve our customers. The new location is larger and has more parking than the old site. It is easily accessible, located on Highway 64, just one mile west of downtown Murphy.”

During the transition, clients with questions about unemployment claims can contact the Franklin office at (828) 369-9534 or the Employment Security Commission’s toll-free call center at (888) 737-0259.

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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