Ashe County’s unemployment rate fell to 11 percent in April, down 1.1 percent since March and 0.7 percent over the year (OTY), according to the latest figures from the N.C. Division of Employment Security (DES).
Of Ashe’s April labor force of 11,807, 1,296 were seeking employment. Ashe ranked 81st among the 100 counties for employment for the month, up from 83rd in March.
April marked the 53rd consecutive month of double-digit unemployment for Ashe County.
According to DES data, there were 120 new regular unemployment insurance claims filed in Ashe County in April, and 49 new claims for federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
Neighboring counties saw the following rate decreases in April: Alleghany decreased 1.5 percent to 9.4 percent, down 1.1 percent OTY; Avery fell 1.1 percent to 12.3 percent, with down 0.3 percent OTY; Watauga fell 0.7 to 7.9 percent, dropping 0.2 percent OTY; and Wilkes fell 0.5 to 9.8 percent, with a 0.7 percent OTY decrease.
April not-seasonally-adjusted jobless rates decreased in 97 counties, increased in two — Greene and Wilson — and remained the same in Alexander County. All 14 of the state’s metro areas saw rate decreases for April.
Graham County had the highest April unemployment rate with 15.9 percent, while Orange County had the lowest at 5.3 percent. Among the Metro areas, Rocky Mount saw the highest rate at 12.3 percent, while Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest at at 6.3 percent.
Compared to April, 2012, not-seasonally-adjusted rates decreased in 76 counties, increased in 19 and remained unchanged in five. Twelve of the metro areas saw rate decreases, while two experienced increases.
North Carolina’s April seasonally-adjusted unemployed rate was 8.5 percent, the lowest since December, 2008.
Nationwide, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent in February, down 0.1 percent over March and 0.6 percent OTY, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS’s most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (Jolts) indicates there are currently 3.1 unemployed per job opening in the U.S.
While N.C.’s April jobless rate decrease closes the gap with a slowly declining national rate, N.C. still had the fifth-highest unemployment in the nation, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Benefits paid out for all programs statewide since May 2012 totalled $2,609,416,592.