Charlotte-area unemployment rate falls to 5.8 percent in August

The Charlotte metro unemployment rate declined in August as more workers across the region found jobs or returned to work.

The area’s jobless rate fell to 5.8 percent in August from an adjusted July rate of 5.9 percent, which was a notch lower than originally reported, according to data released this week from the N.C. Commerce Department. In August 2014, the area’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent.

The overall employment level in the Charlotte metro area, which includes Concord and Gastonia, rose by 22,400 in August, led by gains in the government sector, which grew by 16,000.

Job counts within the government sector throughout the state fluctuate around this time of year because of how school districts pay workers, including teachers and administrators. That can determine whether they’re counted as employed or unemployed, economists say.

The next two sectors with the biggest job growth in August were manufacturing, which rose by 1,600, and education and health services, which rose by 1,500.

Over the last year, Charlotte’s net employment rose by 42,500, the most of any other metro area in the state.

Earlier this month, the Commerce Department reported that the North Carolina unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in August, unchanged from July. The national jobless rate was 5.1 percent in August, and the U.S. Labor Department reports September figures on Friday.

Across North Carolina, unemployment rates dropped in 86 of the 100 counties, the Commerce Department reported. In Mecklenburg County, the jobless rate fell to 5.7 percent in August from 5.8 percent. Here are the rates in some nearby counties:

▪ Cabarrus County’s rate fell to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent.

▪ Gaston County’s rate fell to 6.2 percent from 6.4 percent.

▪ Iredell County’s rate fell to 5.7 percent from 5.9 percent.

▪ Lincoln County’s rate fell to 5.7 percent from 5.9 percent.

▪ Union County’s rate fell to 5.2 percent from 5.3 percent.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta