CHARLES TOWN — Jefferson and Monongalia counties have teeter-tottered for the lowest unemployment since 2007, but in August Jefferson County’s jobless rate was 5.1 percent, edging out Monongalia County, which had a rate a tick higher at 5.2 percent.
It marks the first time Monongalia has not reported the lowest rate since 2011, when Pendleton County reported a rate of 6.1 percent and Monongalia, Jefferson, and Lewis counties reported a rate of 6.2 percent, said Courtney Sisk, public information specialist for the West Virginia Department of Commerce.
“Monongalia County nearly always records the lowest unemployment rate in the state, by either singly or by tying with another county,” Sisk said.
Jefferson has not come out ahead over Monongalia County since November 2007 when the Jefferson County unemployment rate was 2.5 percent and Monongalia’s was 2.6 percent.
West Virginia’s unemployment rate climbed to 7.5 percent in August, still better than the national average, which decreased to 8.1 percent in August.
The increase was fueled by rates climbing in 29 West Virginia counties, according to the August Workforce West Virginia report.
Twenty-three counties reported declining unemployment rates during August.
Three counties, Pleasants, Morgan and Upshur, reported no change in their unemployment rates.
Besides Jefferson and Monongalia, counties with unemployment rates less than 6 percent included Pendleton County at 5.9 percent, Preston County at 5.8 percent, Monroe County at 5.7 percent and Putnam County at 5.6 percent.
The unemployment rate is an economic indicator that measures the proportion of the work force that is jobless and actively seeking employment.
From 1948 until 2012, the United States unemployment rate averaged 5.79 percent reaching an all time high of 10.80 percent in November 1982 and a record low of 2.50 percent in May 1953.
The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in August, 26 states reported over-the-month unemployment rate increases, 12 states and the District of Columbia had decreases, and 12 states had no change.
Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 28 states, decreased in 21 states and the district, and was unchanged in Colorado.
Jefferson County nonfarm payroll went from 15,160 in July to 15,170 in August.
Monthly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics accumulates employment statistics by doing program surveys on about 141,000 businesses and government agencies, representing about 486,000 individual work sites, to provide detailed industry data on employment, hours and earnings of workers on nonfarm payrolls.