For the month of March, McDowell County reported a jobless rate of 7.3 percent, which is almost the same as the rate from the month before.

The N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division released Tuesday the March 2014 unemployment figures for all 100 counties in the state. McDowell’s rate went from 7.6 percent in February to 7.3 percent in March. The county’s rate for March is .7 of a point higher than the statewide rate of 6.6 percent. It also means 1,444 people in McDowell are considered unemployed, out of a local labor force of 19,715, according to a news release.

The March 2014 rate for McDowell is 2.4 points lower than it was a year ago. In March 2013, McDowell reported an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent.

Of the surrounding counties, Rutherford reported the highest rate for March with a rate of 8.9 percent. Mitchell had the next highest rate for the surrounding counties with 8.3 percent. Yancey reported a rate of 7.5 percent while Avery reported a rate of 8.1 percent. Burke reported a jobless rate of 7 percent.

Buncombe reported a rate of 5 percent, the lowest rate of the counties surrounding McDowell and the fourth lowest in the entire state.

Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) increased in 23 of North Carolina’s counties in March, decreased in 59 and remained the same in 18. Three of the state’s metro areas experienced rate increases, while five saw decreases and six remained unchanged. Graham County had the highest unemployment rate at 12.7 percent while Chatham County had the lowest at 4.6 percent.

Among the Metro areas, Rocky Mount at 9.4 percent experienced the highest rate and Durham-Chapel Hill at 5.1 percent had the lowest. The March not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 6.6 percent.

When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates decreased in all 100 counties. All 14 metro areas experienced rate decreases over the year.

The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) increased in March by 47,707 to 4,355,340, while those unemployed decreased 210 to 306,429. Since March 2013, the number of workers employed statewide increased 68,328, while those unemployed decreased 86,425.

“It is important to note that employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns; therefore, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in the not seasonally adjusted estimates,” reads the news release.