Polk slips to 24th lowest unemployment rate in state

Published 3:46 pm Friday, February 5, 2016

By Leah Justice


Polk County’s unemployment rate remained steady from November through December 2015 but the county dropped in state rankings from the 18th lowest to the 24th lowest, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.

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Figures were released this week for December unemployment rates with Buncombe County remaining the lowest unemployment rate in the state with a 3.9 percent compared to Polk’s 5 percent.

Polk County’s unemployment rate in November 2015 was also 5 percent, according to the latest figures, but was 4.3 percent in December 2014, according to the department of commerce.

Henderson County was ranked as fourth lowest in the state with an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in December. Rutherford County was ranked 80th in the state with a 7.1 percent unemployment rate in December.

Polk County was just under the statewide unemployment rate in December, which was 5.3 percent, compared to 5.4 percent in November 2015 and 5 percent in December 2014, according to department of commerce figures.

Polk County’s unemployment rate has been five percent since September 2015.

In November 2015, Polk’s labor force was 8,613 persons employed with 436 persons unemployed. In December 2015, Polk’s labor force was 8,696 with 434 persons unemployed, according to the department of commerce.

The top five lowest unemployment rates in the state in December were Buncombe (3.9 percent), Orange (4.2 percent), Wake (4.3 percent), Henderson (4.3 percent) and Chatham (4.3 percent).

The highest unemployment rates came from the counties of Graham (12 percent), Tyrrell (11.7 percent), Hyde (11.6 percent), Scotland (9.9 percent) and Dare (9.3 percent), according to department of commerce figures.

December unemployment rates across the state (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in 70 counties, increased in 21 counties and remained unchanged in nine counties, the department of commerce said.

The number of employed persons statewide, also not seasonally adjusted decreased in December 2015 by 25,147 to 4,502,869 and those unemployed decreased 10,375 to 249,845, according to the department of commerce. Since December 2014 the number of people employed statewide increased by 140,526 while those unemployed increased by 18,167, according to the state’s figures.

The state is scheduled to release unemployment rates for January 2016 on Monday, March 16.