Ashe County joined 83 other counties across the state with rising unemployment figures in the month of June, according to information released by the NC Department of Commerce on July 27.
Ashe County unemployment was the highest in the North Carolina high country in June as unemployment rose slightly to 11.4 percent from 11.3 percent in May, a .1 percent increase. Year-over-year numbers showed a .3 percent improvement from 11.7 percent in June 2011.
Unemployment rates rose in 84 of NC’s 100 counties in June, fell in 11, and remained unchanged in five. When compared to June 2011, unemployment rates declined in 91 counties, increased in six, and remained the same in three.
“Over-the-year numbers are showing a positive trend compared to the June numbers,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll. “Since June of last year, rates are down in nearly all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Job announcements continue to be made across our state and we remain focused on getting people back to work. Working with employers statewide and providing assistance in our employment service offices is critical to finding opportunities for our customers.”
Thirty-nine NC counties were at or below the state’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 9.9 percent. Unemployment rates increased in all 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
The number of workers employed (not seasonally adjusted) increased in June by 12,294 to 4,237,552, while those unemployed rose 22,088 to 463,123. Since June 2011, the number of workers unemployed decreased 45,492, while those employed increased 69,075.
Ashe County’s labor force decreased slightly in June to 12,201 from May’s 12,275, a decrease 74 of county residents available for work. Since March 2012, Ashe County’s labor force has increased from 11,604 to 12,201, an increase of 597 Ashe County residents available for work, or a 5.1 percent increase. At the same time, the number of unemployed in Ashe County fell to 1,385 in June from May’s 1,390, a decrease of five county unemployed.
The seven NC counties with the lowest unemployment rates in June were Currituck at 5.3 percent, Orange at 7.1 percent, Chatham at 7.3 percent, Henderson at 7.3 percent, Camden at 7.4 percent, Gates at 7.5 percent, Wake at 7.8 percent, and Buncombe at 7.9 percent.
The seven NC counties with the highest unemployment rates in June were Scotland at 17.6 percent, Graham at 15.2 percent, Rutherford at 14.5 percent, Edgecombe at 14.3 percent, Vance at 14.2 percent, Robeson at 13.9 percent, Halifax at 13.8 percent, and Wilson at 13.6 percent.
Of Ashe County’s neighbors, Watauga County’s unemployment rose to 8.8 percent from 8.2 percent in May. Wilkes County’s unemployment rate rose to 11.3 percent from 11 percent in May, while Alleghany County increased to 10.8 percent from 10.6 percent in May, and Avery County fell to 11.2 percent from 11.4 percent in May.
In Ashe County, the unemployment benefits paid to residents over the past 12 months ( June 2011-June 2012) were $9,471,268. Alleghany County received $3,276,931, Avery County $5,654,165, Watauga County received $9,195,936, and Wilkes received $21,197,838.
As of Sunday, July 29, the N.C. DES’s own Job Connector website lists 244 positions available in Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Watauga, and Wilkes counties. The Job Connector website can be accessed by going to ncesc.com, click on individual services in the menu at left, then select “Find jobs with NC Job Connector.” Applicants can choose “Preview Job Listings,” where up to two counties at a time can be selected to search for available positions.