Labor Market Update

Region has 953 more people working compared to one year ago.

Unemployment rate in Mountain Area region was 3.1% as of February 2024. As of February 2024, 413 more people working compared to February 2023.

Unemployed Individuals by month (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties):

February 2024 7,924

January 2024 7,493

December 2023 6,459

November 2023 7,120

October 2023 7,335

September 2023 6,987

August 2023 7,702

July 2023 7,470

June 2023 7,551

May 2023 6,752

April 2023 6,466

March 2023 6,916

February 2023 6,696

January 2023 6,808

December 2022 6,285

November 2022 6,781

October 2022 7,343

September 2022 5,953

August 2022 6,938

Note there are some statistical disparities between the data reported for the Asheville metro and the Mountain Area Workforce region as the metro includes Haywood County but does not include Transylvania County. The Mountain Area Workforce region includes Transylvania County but not Haywood County.

Total Labor Force 223,804

Total Employed Labor Force 216,900

Mountain Area WDB Regional Labor Market Overview

Mountain Area WDB Overview | LEAD Analytics

Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) increased in 50 of North Carolina’s counties in February 2024, decreased in fourteen, and remained unchanged in 36. Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate at 9.7 percent while Watauga County had the lowest at 2.7 percent. Thirteen of the state’s metro areas experienced rate increases, one decreased, and one remained unchanged. Among the metro areas, Rocky Mount had the highest rate at 5.1 percent while Asheville had the lowest at 3.1 percent. The not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 3.7 percent

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Asheville MSA Jobs

Mountain Area WDB Labor Force

Mountain Area WDB Employed Individuals

Mountain Area WDB Unemployment Rate

Mountain Area WDB Unemployed Individuals

Asheville MSA Industry Jobs Compared to One Year Ago

Mountain Area WDB Job Openings

Mountain Area WDB Taxable Retail Sales

Asheville metro unemployment rate 3.1%, AVL metro continues to have the the lowest unemployment rate of any NC metro

Asheville metro (as of February 2024) continues to have the lowest unemployment of any NC metro at 3.1%. All counties in our region have an unemployment rate at or lower than the statewide rate of 3.5%. Buncombe County had the lowest at 3%.

Buncombe 3%

Haywood 3.3%

Henderson 3.1%

Madison 3.1%

Transylvania 3.5%

Monthly job growth by metro:


  1. Durham/Chapel Hill 0.5%
  2. Greenville 0.4%
  3. Raleigh 0.4%
  4. Charlotte/Concord/Gastonia 0.3%
  5. Greensboro-High Point 0.3%
  6. Goldsboro 0.2%
  7. Asheville 0.1%
  8. Hickory 0.1%
  9. Wilmington 0.1%
  10. Burlington 0%
  11. New Bern 0%
  12. Rocky Mount 0%
  13. Winston Salem 0%
  14. Fayetteville -0.1%
  15. Jacksonville -0.2%

Asheville Metro All Employees (Total Individuals Working) 232,067 in February 2024

Asheville Metro Labor Force 241,879 (Total Individuals Working or Seeking Employment) in February 2024

WNC Career Expo - Employer Registration Now Open

Plan to join us Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at the Davis Event Center at the WNC Agricultural Center, located at 761 Boylston Highway in Fletcher. Presented by the Mountain Area Workforce Board and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Fierce Fellows will be offered in our region

Led by instructor Dr. Zeb Regan (of Fierce Fellows LLC), this pilot program is focused on providing life skills and soft skills training for justice-involved individuals. Another class is scheduled to start in May in the Buncombe County area! Call 828-772-0787 for more information.

WNC Construction Career Days (CCD) 2024 - Mountain Area Workforce

The WNC Construction Career Day is an event at the Smoky Mountain Event Center (Haywood County Fairgrounds) in Waynesville. This is an opportunity for WNC students to learn more about the construction industry, skilled trades, and the many careers that are in demand, talk with company representatives and participate in hands-on activities. About 1,200 high school students from about 20 school districts in WNC are scheduled to attend.

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Tamera Edwards with MB Haynes shares about Construction Career Days.
John Anglin with Young & McQueen Construction shares about Construction Career Days

Andrea DeSantis named Assistant Secretary of Commerce for N.C. Division of Workforce Solutions

Andrea DeSantis, Ph.D., will serve as the next North Carolina Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for the Division of Workforce Solutions (DWS), Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders announced today. She will succeed current Assistant Secretary Chet Mottershead, who is retiring and will remain at the agency for a short time during the transition period.

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AI Summit 2024: Reaching New Heights With AI

Last year the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board hosted a successful AI Forum at UNCA. Due to public interest, we are planning AI Summit for May 30, 2024 held at Blue Ridge Community College Campus in Flat Rock, NC in the Technology Education Conference Hall. 

The purpose of the conference is:  

  1. Knowledge Sharing: exchange information and experiences about AI tech and its applications. 
  2. Problem Solving: troubleshoot and get advice on AI-related issues. 
  3. Networking: Connect with others in the AI field, from hobbyists to professionals. 
  4. Staying Updated: Keep up with the latest in AI trends and tools. 
  5. Innovation and Inspiration: Forums spark new ideas and foster innovative thinking in AI. 
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