This North Carolina City Has the Highest Unemployment Rate in the State

North Carolina, a state brimming with diverse industries, cultural attractions, and natural beauty, has experienced a dynamic economic landscape over the years. While the state’s overall unemployment rate has steadily declined in recent times, there remains a stark disparity in employment opportunities across its counties and metropolitan areas. This article delves into a comprehensive analysis of North Carolina’s unemployment rates, with a particular focus on identifying the city with the highest unemployment rate and exploring the underlying factors contributing to this phenomenon.

Unemployment in North Carolina: A Statistical Overview

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October 2023 stands at 3.4%, slightly above the national average of 3.3%. This rate represents a significant improvement from the pre-pandemic era, when unemployment peaked at 13.7% in April 2020. However, despite this overall positive trend, there remain pockets of high unemployment throughout the state.

Edgecombe County: The Epicenter of Unemployment

Edgecombe County, located in the northeastern region of North Carolina, emerges as the epicenter of unemployment within the state. With an unemployment rate of 7.3%, Edgecombe County significantly outpaces the statewide average. This disparity highlights the uneven distribution of economic opportunities across North Carolina.

Factors Contributing to High Unemployment in Edgecombe County

A confluence of factors has contributed to Edgecombe County’s persistently high unemployment rate. These factors include:

  • Declining Agricultural Sector: Edgecombe County has historically relied heavily on agriculture, particularly tobacco farming. However, the decline of the tobacco industry has led to significant job losses in the region.
  • Limited Industrial Growth: The county has struggled to attract new industries and businesses, resulting in a limited pool of employment opportunities.
  • Educational Attainment: Lower educational attainment rates among the county’s residents can hinder their ability to compete for higher-skilled jobs.
  • Transportation Infrastructure: Inadequate transportation infrastructure makes it challenging for residents to access employment opportunities in neighboring areas.

Addressing Unemployment in Edgecombe County: A Multifaceted Approach

Tackling unemployment in Edgecombe County requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the underlying causes. Potential strategies include:

  • Investing in Workforce Development: Providing training and education programs to equip residents with the skills needed for in-demand jobs.
  • Promoting Entrepreneurship: Fostering an environment that supports small business development and entrepreneurship.
  • Attracting New Industries: Incentivizing new businesses and industries to locate in the county, creating a more diversified economy.
  • Improving Transportation Infrastructure: Investing in infrastructure projects that enhance connectivity and accessibility to employment opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the unemployment rate in North Carolina?

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in North Carolina as of October 2023 is 3.4%. This is slightly above the national average of 3.3%.

What is the highest unemployment rate in North Carolina?

Edgecombe County has the highest unemployment rate in North Carolina, at 7.3%. This is significantly higher than the statewide average.

What are the reasons for the high unemployment rate in Edgecombe County?

There are a number of factors that have contributed to the high unemployment rate in Edgecombe County, including:

  • The decline of the tobacco industry
  • Limited industrial growth
  • Lower educational attainment rates
  • Inadequate transportation infrastructure

What is being done to address unemployment in Edgecombe County?

A number of strategies are being implemented to address unemployment in Edgecombe County, including:

  • Investing in workforce development
  • Promoting entrepreneurship
  • Attracting new industries
  • Improving transportation infrastructure

What are the prospects for reducing unemployment in Edgecombe County?

The prospects for reducing unemployment in Edgecombe County are promising. The county has a number of assets, such as a strong agricultural base and a growing population, that can be leveraged to attract new businesses and industries. Additionally, the county is making significant investments in workforce development and infrastructure.

What can individuals do to improve their employment prospects in Edgecombe County?

Individuals in Edgecombe County can improve their employment prospects by:

  • Completing their education or training
  • Gaining experience in high-demand fields
  • Networking with potential employers
  • Taking advantage of available resources, such as job training programs and career counseling

What are some resources for individuals seeking employment in Edgecombe County?

There are a number of resources available to individuals seeking employment in Edgecombe County, including:

  • The North Carolina Department of Commerce
  • The Edgecombe County Workforce Development Center
  • The Edgecombe County Chamber of Commerce
  • Local community colleges and vocational schools


While North Carolina has made strides in reducing unemployment, there remains a pressing need to address the disparities that exist across the state. By understanding the factors contributing to high unemployment in areas like Edgecombe County, policymakers and community leaders can develop targeted strategies to promote economic revitalization and ensure that all residents have access to meaningful employment opportunities.

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