The City of Asheville, with a population of 71,750, comprises an area of approximately 42.5 square miles in Western North Carolina. Asheville is the regional center for manufacturing, transportation, health care, banking, professional services, and shopping. The City is the county seat of Buncombe County, the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the eleventh largest city in the State. Asheville is nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains and located astride the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers. The City is surrounded by lush mountains, many with elevations above 5,000 feet. Recreational opportunities abound in the Asheville area with approximately 16% of the region’s area designated as public or recreational.

The unemployment rate is a critical indicator of relative strength in the local economy. Due to the economic slowdown, Buncombe County experienced higher unemployment rates over the last three years than it did during the late 1990’s. As of May 2005, the county’s unemployment rate stood at 4.0%. Local unemployment rates, however, are below both the statewide (5.0%) and national (4.9%) unemployment rates.
Between 1995 and 2004, the total employment in Buncombe County increased by 11,424 jobs or 12.0%. Asheville is currently experiencing employment growth rates above both the state and national averages. In 2004, average Buncombe County employment increased by 0.13%, reaching an all-time high of 106,548.

The County’s leading industry in terms of employment is health care & social assistance, which employed 19,147 people in 2003. Over the last five years, health services added twice as many jobs as any other sector. Other leading industry sectors include retail trade, manufacturing, and accommodation & food services. Together these four sectors accounted for approximately 55% of all Buncombe County jobs in 2003. Despite the fact that it remains the third largest industry sector in Buncombe County, the manufacturing sector has experienced a significant decline in recent years. Over the last five years, local manufacturing employment has declined 22%.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average annual wage per job in Buncombe County in 2003 was $29,483. Buncombe County’s average annual wage per job is below both the state ($32,995) and national ($37,130) averages. The County’s 2002 average wage per job is 89.4% of the state average and 79.4% of the national average; both percentages are down slightly from the prior year.

Area Facts

Year Established: Asheville- 1883, Buncombe County 1792
Size (Sq. Miles): Asheville-42.54, Buncombe County-657
Average Yearly Temp: 55.4 F

Asheville is a thriving city with a rich talent pool, low unemployment and thus a competitive job market. This is the right place to find information on available jobs, our terrific employers, and our unmatched community.

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