MASON COUNTY — Mason County’s unemployment rate is the highest in the state, according to the latest data from Workforce West Virginia released on Monday.
In July, Mason County had an unemployment rate of 12.2 percent, up from June’s 11 percent. Rounding out the state’s “top five” in terms of counties with the highest unemployment rates were Boone County, 11.8 percent, Webster County, 11.3 percent, Grant County, 11.1 percent and Wirt County, 11.1 percent.
Also, in July, Mason County had 1,210 total unemployed people compared to June’s 1,090 and July 2011’s 1,380 total unemployed. There were 8,770 total employed in Mason County in July, compared to June’s 8,820 and July 2011’s 9,000 total unemployed. The unemployment rate for Mason County a year ago at this time was 13.3 percent, nearly a whole percentage point higher than where it currently rests.
Mason County was joined by 20 counties in July which saw unemployment rates climb, 32 counties reported falling unemployment rates and three counties reported no change.
Once again Monongalia County had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 percent followed by Jefferson County at 4.8 percent, Putnam County at 5.4 percent, Monroe County at 5.6 percent, Lewis County at 5.7 percent and Preston County at 5.9 percent.
In West Virginia, unemployment rose four-tenths of a percentage point to 7.4 percent in July. The number of unemployed state residents climbed 2,400 to 58,900. Total unemployment was down 5,100 over the year. Within the goods-producing sector, a gain of 900 in construction offset declines of 400 in manufacturing and 200 in mining and logging. Within the service-providing sector, employment gains included 700 in educational and health services and 100 in financial activities.
Unemployment declines included 700 in trade, transportation, and utilities, 300 in government, 200 in other services and 100 in leisure and hospitality. Employment in professional and business services was unchanged over the month.
The national unemployment rate inched upward one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.3 percent in July which means West Virginia’s unemployment rate is still nearly a percentage point below the national average.