State unemployment falls below 7 percent in December

Wil Petty

January 31, 2014

The state’s unemployment rate fell below 7 percent in December, according to data released by the N.C. Department of Commerce on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

December’s rate of 6.9 percent was the lowest recorded in the state all year and was down from 9.4 percent in December of 2012. North Carolina still has an unemployment rate above the national average which rests at 6.7 percent.

“North Carolina’s December 2013 unemployment rate was 2.5 percentage points lower than a year ago,” according to the release, which was compiled by the DOC’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division.

According to the DOC report, the number, not seasonally adjusted, of those unemployed decreased from 445,410 in Dec. 2012 to 305,196 in Dec. 2013. While there was an increase of those employed from 4,286,316 to 4,315,366 the size of the work force had decreased.

N.C. Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement following the DOC’s release saying, “The trend of more people getting back to work in North Carolina is great news for our state.”

In Dec. 2012 the N.C. labor force was at 4,731,726. In Dec. 2013, the number decreased over 100,000 to 4,620,562. The same can be said for the national average which went from 154.9 million in Dec. 2012 to 154.4 million in 2013.

“A total of $59,121,814 in regular (unemployment insurance) benefits was paid in December to 60,889 claimants statewide — an increase of 2,457 claimants since November 2013,” according to the report.

Data specific to Ashe and the other 99 counties in the state for Dec. 2013 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. The complete 2014 data release schedule is available at

Wil Petty may be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @wilpetty