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Labor Market Update

Region has 3,571 more people working compared to one year ago.

Unemployment rate in Mountain Area region was 2.8% as of October 2023. As of October 2023, 3,571 more people working compared to October 2022.

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

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

As of October 2023, the Asheville metro is close to a record number of jobs, people working and number of people in the labor force.

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 242,916

Total Employed Labor Force 236,083

Mountain Area WDB Regional Labor Market Overview

Mountain Area WDB Overview | LEAD Analytics


October 2023 Data*

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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 Jobs

Asheville MSA Industry Jobs Compared to One Year Ago

Mountain Area WDB Job Openings

Mountain Area WDB Taxable Retail Sales

Asheville metro unemployment rate 2.8%, AVL metro continues to maintain the the lowest unemployment rate of any NC metro

Asheville metro (as of October 2023) continues to have the lowest unemployment of any NC metro at 2.8%. This rate is up 0.3% from the metro unemployment rate of 3.1% of one year ago. All counties in our region have an unemployment rate at or lower than the statewide rate of 3.4%. Swain and Buncombe Counties continue to have the lowest unemployment rate of any NC county at 2.6% and 2.7% respectively.

Buncombe 2.7%

Haywood 3.1%

Henderson 2.9%

Madison 3.0%

Transylvania 3.3%

Monthly job growth by metro:


  1. Fayetteville 0.3%
  2. Hickory 0.3%
  3. Burlington 0.2%
  4. Goldsboro 0.2%
  5. New Bern 0.2%
  6. Raleigh 0.2%
  7. Durham/Chapel Hill 0.1%
  8. Jacksonville 0%
  9. Wilmington 0%
  10. Greensboro-High Point -0.3%
  11. Greenville -0.4%
  12. Asheville -0.5%
  13. Rocky Mount -0.5%
  14. Charlotte/Concord/Gastonia -0.6%
  15. Winston Salem -0.6%

Asheville Metro All Employees (Total Individuals Working) 207,500 near record high in October 2023

Asheville Metro Labor Force 245,711 (Total Individuals Working or Seeking Employment) record high in October 2023

New data: Asheville area still has lowest percentage of job seekers in NC; also low pay

Asheville's metro area continues has the lowest unemployment in North Carolina, according to just-released data on the number of people seeking jobs.

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You are invited!

Click HERE to register for this luncheon

Announcing UNC Asheville's Ninth Chancellor - UNC Asheville

Kimberly van Noort has been named the ninth Chancellor of UNC Asheville, following a vote by the UNC Board of Governors on November 29, 2023.

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Mountain Area Careers now features Construction/Skilled Trades and Tech/IT careers

Create Your Future in the Mountains of Western North Carolina. Find jobs from great employers. Earn a steady living and advance your career.

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Western NC Community Cohort Team Holds Symposium to Address Regional Education and Workforce Goals

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, representatives from more than 85 organizations and institutions based in Western North Carolina attended the A3 Education and Workforce Symposium at UNC Asheville. The event was organized by the Talent First Economics Community Cohort Western Mountain Region team, a group of certified workforce development leaders helping increase employment opportunities for underrepresented workers in the region.

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State investment propels WCU to nurture next-gen engineering talent

Western Carolina University got a big boost from the General Assembly to educate the next generation of engineering and technology professionals.

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Work Local Transylvania - Blue Ridge Community College

Students can gain experience and jobs with apprenticeship program in manufacturing The Work Local Transylvania (Manufacturing) Apprenticeship program allows eligible high school graduates and adult learners to earn while you in the classroom and on the job.

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NC's Assets to Compete in the 4th Industrial Revolution

This is the third article in LEAD's recent Manufacturing series, which explores North Carolina's Industry 4.0 assets.

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Youth Disconnection Falls to Pre-Pandemic Lows in North Carolina According to Recent Data

Recently released data from the US Census Bureau's 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) suggest youth disconnection in North Carolina has returned to pre-pandemic lows. Primarily due to a strong economic recovery, youth engagement has rebounded quickly following the COVID-19 recession.

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Commerce Issues 2024 Economic Development Tier Rankings

The North Carolina Department of Commerce released the county tier designations for 2024 today. The designations, which are mandated by state law, play a role in several programs that assist in economic development.

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Need a Job? America's Smallest Employers Have a Record Share of Openings

Available positions at establishments with fewer than 10 workers rose almost 20% in recent months.

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Hot Healthcare Hiring Bolsters Cooling U.S. Labor Market

The industry could serve as a strong job generator for years as an aging population and Covid-19 fuel widespread worker shortages and greater needs for healthcare services.

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New scholarship makes more financial aid available for North Carolinian college-goers

Households with a $80,000 income or less are eligible to get at least half of their college tuition covered.

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Workers earning more but still falling behind inflation

A new survey shows a majority of workers are earning more than they did a year ago, but over half still don't think their pay is keeping pace with inflation.

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Perspective | The importance of a rural community college response

"Community colleges are the heart of our rural communities, and we are called to meet the changing needs of the community," says Dr. Shelley White, President of Haywood Community College.

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Labor Shortages, Remote Work Fuel Job Gains for Workers With Disabilities

The share of adults with disabilities in the labor force hit a record this summer.

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Transylvania County Students Celebrate Manufacturing Day 2023 - Transylvania Economic Alliance

Manufacturing industries play a critical role in local economies, and the foundation of connecting future generations of Transylvania County residents with career opportunities at local manufacturers was built on Wednesday, October18th. Over 65 students from Brevard and Rosman High Schools toured four different manufacturers throughoutTransylvania County celebrating "Manufacturing Day."

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Holiday Hiring Demand Drops Off, a Warning for the Job Market

Stores and warehouses are adding fewer extra workers and finding it easier to fill those roles.

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Why Is Everyone So Unhappy at Work Right Now?

U.S. employees are more dissatisfied than they were in the thick of the pandemic

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Advanced Manufacturing at Blue Ridge Community College (Full)

In the innovative field of advanced manufacturing, Blue Ridge Community College graduates shine! We can prepare you for a high-tech, rewarding career in leading advanced manufacturing companies. You'll also enjoy hands-on work and problem solving in the high demand fields that move modern life forward.

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