WNC county unemployment rates for September, released Friday, Oct. 28. Map courtesy of the Employment Security Commission of N.C.

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Most Western North Carolina counties had lower unemployment rates in September, mirroring a trend seen throughout North Carolina’s 100 counties.

Of the region’s 17 westernmost counties, 15 experienced declines in their unemployment rates last month, the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina reported today. The rates released by the state agency were not adjusted to reflect seasonal fluctuations.

Swain County —  one of the four North Carolina counties that saw a rise in joblessness in September — had an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent, a 0.3 percent increase from the prior month.

Transylvania County had an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent and was one of the four counties in the state that had no change in its joblessness rate.

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Nine WNC counties had unemployment rates below the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate of 10 percent. Macon County had a 10 percent joblessness rate last month. Seven counties in the region — Cherokee, Graham, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford, Swain and Yancey — had rates above the North Carolina rate.

Unemployment rates dropped in 92 counties statewide and in all 14 of the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas, including the Asheville MSA. The Asheville MSA, which encompasses Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties, had a rate of 8.1 percent, the lowest of all the MSAs’ rates.

The September unemployment rates for Western North Carolina’s counties, compared with the previous month’s rates, were as follows:

  • Avery: 9.8 percent, down 0.3 percent from the previous month.
  • Buncombe: 7.9 percent, down 0.5 percent.
  • Cherokee: 13.1 percent, down 0.4 percent.
  • Clay: 9.6 percent, down 0.5 percent.
  • Graham: 14.3 percent, down 0.3 percent.
  • Haywood: 8.9 percent, down 0.5 percent.
  • Henderson: 7.9 percent, down 0.2 percent.
  • Jackson: 8.1 percent, down 0.3 percent.
  • Macon: 10 percent, down 0.3 percent.
  • Madison: 8.9 percent, down 0.3 percent.
  • McDowell: 12.3 percent, down 0.5 percent.
  • Mitchell: 10.9 percent, down 0.7 percent.
  • Polk: 7.9 percent, down 0.3 percent.
  • Rutherford: 14.3 percent, down 0.5 percent.
  • Swain: 11.6 percent, up 0.3 percent.
  • Transylvania: 9.1 percent, unchanged.
  • Yancey: 11.4 percent, down -0.2 percent.

The agency said it will release the state unemployment rate for October on Nov. 22.

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Kathleen O'Nan

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

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