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Graham County Jobless Rate Tops 20-percent

More than 80 counties across North Carolina experienced a drop in their unemployment rates.  But communities in the eastern and western corners of the state did not fare as well.

Leoneda Inge:  The latest numbers show Graham County has the highest unemployment rate in the state, 20.7 percent.   Graham County is in the far western part of the state, in the Great Smokey Mountains.   Tourism is a major industry in the county with fewer than 12-thousand residents.  Greg Cable is the Graham County Manager. He says the loss in construction jobs is what has hurt them the most.

Greg Cable:  A large portion of our male population work right-of-ways, means they work off in construction. And there have not been a lot of those jobs that have been available over the last little bit.

One-third of the counties in the state have jobless rates higher than the overall state rate of 10-point-one percent.  The lowest rate in the state is in Orange County, at six-point-three percent.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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