Ashe County’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.4 percent in July, according to the latest data released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce on Wednesday, Aug. 27.
The county’s unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percent from June, when the rate was at 7.4 percent. In July of 2013, the unemployment rate was at 10.2 percent.
According to the data provided by the Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security, Ashe County has a labor force of 11,228 people with 866 people considered unemployed.
The Department of Commerce defines the unemployed as individuals not employed during the reference week who had actively looked for a job sometime in the four week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work.
In the High Country, Ashe had the second highest unemployment rate behind Mitchell County, which had a 7.8 percent unemployment rate. Watauga County had the lowest rate in the region at 6.5 percent, followed by Avery County at 7.0 percent, Alleghany County at 7.5 percent and Wilkes County at 7.6 percent.
All of the counties in the High Country experienced an increase in the unemployment rate between June and July.
Statewide, the unemployment rate for July 2014 was 6.9 percent, compared to 6.5 percent in June.
“Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) increased in 95 of North Carolina’s counties in July, decreased in four and remained unchanged in one,” according to a press release from the Department of Commerce.
Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 12.7 percent while Currituck County had the lowest at 3.9 percent.
All 14 of the state’s metro areas experienced an increase in the unemployment rate. Among the metro areas, Rocky Mount at 10.2 percent experienced the highest rate and Asheville at 5.2 percent had the lowest.
Twenty-five of the 26 micropolitan statistical areas in the state experienced an increase in the unemployment rate, including the town of Boone. Boone’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in July, up from 5.8 percent in June. Kill Devil Hills was the lone micropolitan statistical area that experienced a drop in unemployment.
“In July 2014, there were 23,532 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 (2,835), followed by Wake (1,990), Guilford (1,302), Forsyth (874) and Cumberland (851) counties.
According to the release, the number of workers employed statewide increased by 7,838 to 4,396,729 people. In addition, the number of those unemployed increased by 21,502 to 324,277 people. Since July 2013, the number of workers employed statewide increased 48,186, while those unemployed decreased 75,846.
The Department of Commerce will be releasing the next unemployment data on Friday, Sept. 19. The information provided by that update will be on state unemployment for the month of August 2014.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.