Labor Market Update

Unemployment rate in Mountain Area region was 3.0% as of March 2024. As of March 2024, 81 more people working compared to March 2023.

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

March 2024 7,808

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 225,787

Total Employed Labor Force 218,972

Mountain Area WDB Regional Labor Market Overview

Mountain Area WDB Overview | LEAD Analytics

Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in 44 of North Carolina’s counties in March 2024, increased in 22, and remained unchanged in 34. Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate at 7.6 percent while Greene County had the lowest at 2.8 percent. Six of the state’s metro areas experienced rate increases, four decreased, and five remained unchanged. Among the metro areas, Rocky Mount had the highest rate at 5.0 percent while Asheville had the lowest at 3.0 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 3.0%, AVL metro continues to have the the lowest unemployment rate of any NC metro

Asheville metro (as of March 2024) continues to have the lowest unemployment of any NC metro at 3.0%. 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 2.9%.

Buncombe 2.9%

Haywood 3.2%

Henderson 3.1%

Madison 3.2%

Transylvania 3.4%

Monthly job growth by metro:


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

Asheville Metro All Employees (Total Individuals Working) 241,067 in March 2024

Asheville Metro Labor Force 241,497 (Total Individuals Working or Seeking Employment) in March 2024

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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Metrix Learning - free training opportunity

Click HERE to sign up for free training

North Carolina has lost almost 5% of its licensed child care programs since the pandemic began

As pandemic-era child care stabilization funds expire, North Carolina continues to experience a net loss of licensed programs.

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May 2024 NC Economy Watch: The Demand-Side Cooldown

Our last edition of NC Economy Watch covered recent developments on the supply side of the economy. In this edition, we examine the recent softening in consumer spending and job availability. These trends have helped bring the supply- and demand-sides of the economy into a healthier balance, contributing to slower price inflation and helping keep the economy out of a recession.

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