Last updated: September 02. 2013 8:49AM - 1025 Views
Dylan Lightfoot Staff Writer dlightfoot@civitasmedia.com

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Ashe County’s jobless rate fell to 10.4 percent in July, down 0.6 percent from June, and 0.1 percent from July 2012, according to the latest figures from the N.C. Division of Employment Security (DES).

Of the 11,864 workers in the county’s July labor force, 1,264 were seeking employment. The county’s labor force decreased one percent from June.

According to DES spokesperson Larry Parker, Ashe saw 36 new unemployment insurance (UI) claims in July. New claims have steadily decreased this year from January’s high of 231, despite a spike of 120 new claims in April.

There were 278 UI claimants in the county in July, drawing an average weekly benefit of $248.84, Parker said, approximately 18 percent less than the statewide average.

Benefits paid in Ashe for all programs from August 2012, through July 2013, totalled $7,258,636, according to Parker.

July 2013, marks Ashe County’s 56th consecutive month of double-digit unemployment.

Ashe moved to 76th on the DES county ranking for unemployment in July, up six places from 82nd in June.

Among the neighboring counties, Alleghany experienced a slight decrease of 0.1 percent in June, down 0.8 percent over the year (OTY), while Avery fell to 9.0 percent, a 1.1 percent decrease for the month, and 1.6 percent OTY. Watauga County at 7.9 percent unemployment, saw a 0.3 percent decrease in June, down 0.6 percent OTY, and Wilkes at 10.1 percent fell 0.5 percent over the month, while dropping 1.2 percent OTY.

Unemployment rates — not seasonally adjusted — decreased in 81 N.C. counties in July, increased in nine and remained the same in 10. Twelve of the state’s metro areas saw rate decreases, while one — Fayetteville — saw an increase, and one — Rocky Mount — was unchanged.

Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate in July at 16.0 percent, while Currituck County had the lowest at 5.3 percent.

Among the Metro areas, Rocky Mount experienced the highest rate at 13.3 percent, and Asheville had the lowest at 6.8 percent

The July seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 8.9 percent, with N.C. ranked 48th in the nation for unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Statewide, there were 22,523 new unemployment insurance claims in July, according to the DES. New claims have steadily declined every month this year from a high of 50,701 in January.

There were 81,423 UI claimants statewide in July, drawing an average weekly benefit of $294.72, according to the DES. Total unemployment benefits paid in the state for all programs from August 2012, to July 2013, totaled $2,388,756,078.

The federal unemployment rate fell to 7.4 in July, down from 7.6 percent in June, according to the BLS.

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