County unemployment rate rises 1.2 percent in January

Wil Petty

March 21, 2014

County unemployment rates in Ashe increased 1.2 percent between Dec. 2013 and Jan. 2014, according to data released by the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Ashe County stands at 9.5 percent unemployment, which is still less than Jan. 2013 when the county’s unemployment rate was at 13.8 percent.

According to the data from the DOC’s Labor & Economic Analysis Division, Ashe County has a labor force of 11,060 people with 1,056 unemployed. In Dec. 2013, Ashe County’s labor force had 11,334 people with 934 unemployed. In Nov. 2013, the county’s workforce had 11,845 people and 964 were unemployed.

Not only is Ashe County’s labor force shrinking, the number of those unemployed have increased.

Compared to other counties, Ashe is ranked No. 84 in terms of unemployment rate. Orange County sits in first with a rate of 4.6 percent, while Dare is last with a 14.5 percent unemployment rate.

In rankings between Dec. 2013 and Jan. 2014, Ashe County dropped six positions.

Ashe County has the second highest unemployment rate in the High Country Region behind Mitchell County (9.6 percent). Watauga County has the lowest rate (6.4 percent) followed by Wilkes County (7.9 percent).

Statewide, the unemployment rate increased in 96 counties, decreased in two counties and remained the same in two counties. Hoke and Jones counties are the only ones in the state that saw a decrease in the unemployment rates.

Dare County saw the biggest spike in its unemployment rate as it increased 5.1 percent between December 2013 and January 2014.

In all of the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas and 26 micropolitan areas, there was an increase in the unemployment rate.

“In January 2014, there were 34,229 regular unemployment insurance initial claims filed in North Carolina,” according to the release. The highest number of claims were filed in Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford, Forsyth and Dare counties.

In a March 17 release of statewide unemployment data by the N.C. Department of Commerce, it said the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate was at 6.7 percent. The more recent data, released March 21, shows the state’s “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate at 7 percent.

The next release of data by the N.C. DOC will be Friday, March 28 when statewide data for February 2014 will be presented.

Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.