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Originally published: 2012-10-03 12:37:47
Last modified: 2012-10-03 12:37:47

Ashe County tops High Country unemployment rate, Watauga rate falls

By Adam Orr


Ashe County’s unemployment rate, along with Wilkes County, topped the High Country in August, reaching 11 percent, according to data released Sept. 28 by the NC Department of Commerce.

Ashe County was one of 18 counties across the state with increasing unemployment rates. Rates decreased in 72 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and remained unchanged in 10.

Thirty-nine counties were at or below the state’s unemployment rate of 9.7 percent. Rates decreased in 13 of the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas. The lone exception was the Fayetteville Metropolitan Statistical Area where rates ticked up slightly.

After falling to a 10-year low of 11,603 in March, Ashe County’s labor force has rebounded to 12,146 in August.

Of Ashe County’s neighbors, both Alleghany and Avery County’s unemployment rates decreased by .3 percent, falling to 10.1 and 10.4 percent respectively. Watauga County’s unemployment rate decreased by .5 percent to 8.3 percent, and Wilkes County’s rate fell by .1 percent.

The seven counties with the highest unemployment rate are Scotland at 17.2 percent, Graham at 14.8 percent, Edgecombe at 14.5 percent, Rutherford at 14.2 percent, Halifax at 13.9 percent, Vance at 13.8 percent and Robeson at 13.6 percent.

The seven counties with the lowest unemployment rate are Currituck at 4.7 percent, Orange at 6.5 percent, Chatham at 7 percent, Camden at 7.4 percent, Henderson at 7.4 percent, Buncombe at 7.6 percent, and Wake at 7.6 percent.

As of Oct. 2, the N.C. DES’s own Job Connector website lists 211 positions available in Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Watauga and Wilkes Counties. The Job Connector website can be accessed by going to, 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.