Ashe County’s unemployment rate increased to 8.3 percent in December of 2013, according to data released by the N.C. Division of Employment Security today.
Unemployment increased 0.2 percent, following an 8.1 percent rate in November, which was the lowest in the county in the last five years. In 2012, December unemployment was at 11.7 percent in the county.
The labor force in Ashe County is at 11,334 people with 936 people unemployed, according to DES data. In November, the county had a workforce of 11,845 people with 964 unemployed.
Both the workforce and number of those unemployed decreased. Ashe also dropped from No. 71 in November to No. 78 in county unemployment rankings.
Statewide, the number of counties with unemployment rates 5 percent or below doubled to six and counties with a rate of 10 percent or higher decreased from six to five.
“The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in December by 32,140 to 4,315,366, while those unemployed decreased 17,561 to 305,196,” according to the DES release. “Since December 2012, the number of workers employed statewide increased 29,050, while those unemployed decreased 140,214.”
Scotland (12.6 percent) and Graham (12.2 percent) had the highest unemployment rates in the state, while Orange (4.1 percent) and Chatham (4.4 percent) counties had the lowest.
Within the High Country region, Ashe had the second highest unemployment rate behind Mitchell County (8.5 percent), while Watauga (5.6 percent) and Alleghany (7.1 percent) counties were the lowest unemployment rates in the region. Ashe County was the only High Country area to see unemployment rates increase.
Larry Parker, DES public information officer, said the uemployment data was taken from the week of Dec. 12.
All 14 of North Carolina’s metro areas and 25 of the 26 Micropolitian Statistical areas saw unemployment decrease. The Kill Devil Hills MSA saw a 0.8 percent increase.
January 2014 data for the state will be released Monday, March 17 and Ashe County data will be released Friday, March 21.
Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty