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Region's jobless rate holds steady at 4.2 percent

Region's jobless rate holds steady at 4.2 percent

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HICKORY — The unemployment rate in the Greater Hickory area was stable from December to January, staying the same in three counties and rising slightly in Burke County.

The region’s January jobless rate was 1 percentage point lower than it was in January 2017.

According to Friday’s report from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division, the Hickory region’s unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in January, unchanged from December. The region’s rate was 5.2 percent in January 2017.

Among the state’s 15 metropolitan statistical areas, the Greater Hickory area’s jobless rate was near the bottom in January. The Rocky Mount region’s unemployment rate of 6.9 percent was the state’s highest. That was followed by Fayetteville at 5.9 percent; Jacksonville at 5.3 percent; Goldsboro at 5.1 percent; Greensboro-High Point, Greenville and New Bern, each at 4.9 percent; Wilmington at 4.6 percent; Winston-Salem and Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, each at 4.4 percent; Burlington at 4.3 percent; and Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton at 4.2 percent. Among metropolitan statistical areas, only Asheville (3.7 percent), and Raleigh and Durham-Chapel Hill (each at 4 percent), had lower unemployment rates than the Hickory region in January.

Catawba County’s unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in January, unchanged from December. The rate was 5.1 percent in January 2017. The county’s jobless rate peaked at 15.6 percent in March 2009, the highest it has been since 1975.

Other area jobless rates for January were 3.7 percent in Alexander County, unchanged from December; 4.3 percent in Burke County, up from 4.2 percent in December; and 4.5 percent in Caldwell County, unchanged from December.

Compared to December, there were 236 more people in January considered unemployed in the Greater Hickory Metro. Compared to December, there were 121 more people in January considered unemployed in Catawba County.

According to the state report, unemployment rates increased in 93 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in January, decreased in one, and remained the same in six.

Fourteen of the state’s metro areas experienced rate increases in January, while one — Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton — remained the same.

Buncombe County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in January, 3.6 percent. Hyde County, with 14.6 percent, had the highest unemployment rate in January.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in January, up from 4.4 percent in December.

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