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Unemployment rates stays steady or decreases over most of state in December

RALEIGH — The latest county unemployment figures show an unemployment decrease in 45 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and remained unchanged in 30 additional counties in December, according to statistics from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Of the 100 counties, 92 counties had rates of five percent or below, and eight counties had a rate between five and 10 percent.

Hyde County experienced the highest unemployment rate in the state during December 2019 at 9.7 percent, while Buncombe maintained the lowest unemployment rate in NC at 2.5 percent. Avery County’s unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, up .2 percent from the previous month. Watauga County had the lowest unemployment out of all bordering counties at 2.7 percent. Mitchell had the highest unemployment of bordering counties at 4.2, with 3.4 percent in Caldwell County, 3.3 percent in Burke and 3.5 percent in McDowell County.

Avery: 3.4 percent

Ashe: 3.1 percent

Burke: 3.3 percent

Caldwell: 3.4 percent

McDowell: 3.5 percent

Mitchell: 4.2 percent

Watauga: 2.7 percent

North Carolina experienced a statewide rate of 3.7 percent, highest among bordering states and just slightly more than that of Tennessee and Georgia, with Avery County rating below the state unemployment average by 0.3 percent. South Carolina had for the lowest unemployment rate out of all bordering states at 2.3 percent.

North Carolina: 3.7 percent

Georgia: 3.2 percent

South Carolina: 2.3 percent

Tennessee: 3.3 percent

Virginia: 2.6 percent

The total number of workers employed in the state decreased by 27,197 in December, translating to 4,909,376, while the number of people unemployed decreased by 4,392 to 169,153. Since this time last year, the number of workers employed in the state has increased by 128,272, while those unemployed decreased 16,003.

NC Commerce notes that that employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns; therefore, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in the not-seasonally adjusted estimates.

All figures courtesy North Carolina Department of Commerce and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The Heritage at Sugar Mountain, an assisted living facility in Newland, celebrated Valentine’s Day for all the residents with refreshments and a sock hop with music provided by Bob Ollis. The new socks were provided by the Sunday School class of the Newland United Methodist Church and Ollis, dressed as Elvis, played and sang a tribute to him that included a lot of his most popular songs. The residents enjoyed the singing, dancing and excitement over the crowning of the king, Charlie Anderson, and queen, Wanda Pritchard (both pictured), by their popular vote. The king received a crown and some candy, while the queen received a bouquet of roses and candy.