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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 the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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