Ashe County’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent in June 2014, according to data released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce on Wednesday, July 30.
The rate dropped by 0.1 percent from May 2014, when the unemployment rate was at 7.5 percent. In June of 2013, the unemployment rate was at 10.7 percent, meaning the rate has dropped 3.3 percent over the course of a year.
According to the data provided by the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security, Ashe County has a labor force of 11,386 people with 843 people considered unemployed. In June of 2013, Ashe County had a labor force of 12,004 people with 1,360 people considered unemployed.
In the High Country region, Ashe County had the second highest unemployment rate behind Mitchell County, which had a 7.6 percent unemployment rate. Watauga County had the lowest rate in the region at 5.8 percent, followed by Avery County at 6.7 percent.
All of the counties in the High Country either saw the unemployment rate decrease, or remain the same between May and June.
Statewide, the unemployment rate for June 2014 is 6.5 percent, compared to 6.6 percent in May.
“Unemployment rates decreased in 81 of North Carolina’s counties in June, increased in 10 and remained unchanged in nine,” according to the press release from the Department of Commerce.
Across the state, the lowest unemployment rates were found in Currituck (4.2 percent), Chatham (4.5 percent) and Polk (4.7 percent) counties, while the highest unemployment rates were in Scotland (12.1 percent), Edgecombe (11 percent) and Halifax (10 percent) counties.
The unemployment rate between May and June 2014 either dropped in 13 of the 14 metropolitan statistical areas. The Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill metro area’s rate remained unchanged at 6.5 percent.
Of the 26 micropolitan statistical areas, 22 saw the unemployment rate drop, while two (Henderson and Roanoke Rapids) remained unchanged. Two of the micropolitan areas (Forest City and Wilson) saw their unemployment rate go up.
“In June 2014, there were 24,209 regular unemployment insurance initial claims filed in North Carolina,” according to the release by the Department of Commerce. “(The) Total regular initial claims are based on the number of transactions; demographic data are counts of individuals.”
The highest number of unemployment initial claims were filed in Mecklenburg County (2,961) followed by Wake County (2,103) and Guilford County (1,522).
According to the release, the number of workers statewide decreased 26,751 to 4,388,173 people. In addition, the number of those unemployed decreased 10,225 to 303,122 people.
The Department of Commerce will be releasing the next unemployment data on Monday, Aug. 18. The information provided by that update will be on state unemployment for the month of July 2014.
Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.