RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – Unemployment rates in the Piedmont Triad that had been ticking up in the past couple of months took a significant downturn in December.

All but one of the 14 counties in the Triad dropped in December, all of them by at least a half of a percentage point, data released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce show.

County-by-county unemployment rates for December in North Carolina. (NC DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE)

Alleghany was the anomaly at 5.8% and was the only county in which the rate wasn’t lower than last year. Most counties dropped by that same half-point from December 2021, but Alleghany was up by 1.9 percentage points from both last month and last year (3.9%).

Alleghany also was one of four counties in North Carolina’s 100 that did not show a decrease from November. Tyrell County had the highest rate statewide, at 7.1%. The lowest rates were found in Buncombe, Greene, Orange and Watauga Counties, which each posted 2.5%.

Statewide the not-seasonally-adjusted rate was 3.2%, a decrease of .6 of a percentage point from November. Steady post-pandemic rate declines had stalled in each of the previous two reports.

Stokes County and Yadkin counties (3.4%) had the lowest rate in the Triad, which was slightly higher than Davie (2.8%) and Surry (2.9%). All other counties were at less than 4%, with the biggest decreases from November being .8 in Wilkes and Yadkin counties. Three other counties (Davie, Montgomery, Stokes) had a decrease of .7.

Those decreases from December 2021 were about the same levels, which made them among the best in the state. In the past year, rates increased in 47 counties, decreased in 30 and remained unchanged in 23.

Metro area rates fall

This shows job growth in each of the state’s 15 MSAs. (NC DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE)

All 15 of the state’s metro areas showed rate decreases from November. In the past year, five went up, four went down and six remain the same.

Year-over-year job growth in Greensboro-High Point MSA (which includes Rockingham and Randolph counties) was 2.4% (or 8,500 jobs). Burlington/Alamance grew by 1,500 jobs (2.3%) from last year but added no jobs in December.

Winston-Salem, which includes all of Forsyth County along with Davidson, Davie, Stokes and Yadkin counties, added 6,400 jobs (or 2.4%) from last year despite a decline of 1,200 (-.4%) in December.

Among those 15 areas statewide, Asheville had the best rate in December, at 2.5%, and Rocky Mount had the highest rate (5.2%).

Statewide report

The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) increased in December by 2,607, to 4,926,333, the state reported, and those unemployed decreased by 29,503 to 163,346.  

Total nonfarm jobs grew by .1% from last month and 4.1% in the past year. The number of persons employed statewide increased by 93,639, and the number of unemployed increased by 2,676.

The biggest year-over-year job growth was in leisure and hospitality (9.9%), followed by professional and business services (6.3%), other services (6.1%) and mining/logging/construction (4.9%). No category showed a decrease.

“It is important to note 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,” the release said.

Triad unemployment data

                             Dec.          Nov.          Aug.          June          ‘21   

Alamance         3.2             3.8             4.0             4.2             3.7

Alleghany           5.8             3.9             3.7             4.1             3.9

Caswell             3.4             4.0             4.3             4.4             4.0

Davidson           3.2             3.6             3.7             3.9             3.6

Davie                   2.8             3.5             3.5             3.7             3.4

Forsyth              3.2             3.8             4.0             4.2             3.8

Guilford             3.7             4.2             4.5             4.6             4.2

Montgomery   3.0             3.7             3.8             4.1             3.7

Randolph          3.2             3.7             3.9             4.0             3.7

Rockingham     3.7             4.3             4.4             4.6             3.7

Stokes                 2.7             3.4             3.5             3.7             3.3

Surry                   2.9             3.5             3.7             3.9             3.5

Wilkes                3.2             4.0             4.0             4.3             3.9

Yadkin               2.7             3.5             3.4             3.7             3.5