Unemployment rates decrease for Watauga County

Watauga County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in North Carolina at 8.7 percent unemployed as of July 2012, according to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

This is partially due to the presence of the university, which is the regions largest employer, said Joe Furman, director Watauga County Planning and Inspections.

The lack of dependence on textile manufacturing along with the tourist attractions also helps employment, Furman said.

“Also, Boone is the hub of commerce in Northwestern N.C., so has more retail and service establishments and opportunities,” Furman said.

Appalachian students working off-campus and spending money in town also aids with the economy, he said.

“ASU has a significant economic impact,” Furman said. “Students as both employees and customers are a big part of that.”

Audrey Jones, a sophomore entrepreneurship major, has been working at Jimmy John’s on King Street for around two weeks.

It only took her two weeks to find a job once she started looking, she said.

“Also, a lot of people were hired the same time I was,” Jones said.

Working off-campus helps students become better at time management, she said.

“Working actually helps me study more,” Jones said. “When you’re working, you don’t have as much time so you really have to bunker down.”

Emma Willard, a junior middle grades education major, has worked at Troy’s 105 Diner, off of Hwy 105, for around 10 months.

Especially during the summer months, business is higher than usual and more employees are hired, Willard said.

“Students working is important to gain experience,” Willard said. “And I feel like I appreciate things more if I buy them with my earned money.”


Story: CHELSEY FISHER, Senior News Reporter