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RALEIGH — Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in 95 of North Carolina’s counties in December 2023, increased in three, and remained unchanged in two. Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 5.9 percent while Buncombe County had the lowest at 2.4 percent.

Southeastern counties unemployment: Bladen 3.9, Brunswick 4.1, Columbus 3.5, Cumberland 4.4, Duplin 3.1, New Hanover 3.0, Pender 3.0 and Robeson 4.7.

All 15 of the state’s metro areas experienced rate decreases. Among the metro areas, Rocky Mount had the highest rate at 4.5 percent while Asheville had the lowest at 2.5 percent. The not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 3.2 percent.

When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates decreased in 51 counties, increased in 26, and remained unchanged in 23. Seven metro areas experienced rate decreases over the year, three increased, and five remained unchanged.

The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in December by 28,036 to 5,058,871, while those unemployed decreased by 10,084 to 167,065. Since December 2022, the number of workers employed statewide increased 95,776, while those unemployed increased 3,277. 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 next unemployment update is scheduled for Monday, March 11, 2024, when the statewide unemployment rate for January 2024 will be released.

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