Joblessness Jumps in January, up in all the High Country counties and the adjoining Foothills counties. In fact, unemployment was up in almost all of North Carolinas 100 counties96 of them showing more joblessness, with only two counties dropping their rate, two remaining the same. The Department of Commerce was quick to point out that, even with the dismal figures for January 2014, all 100 counties were better off that the unemployment figures of January 2013. The largest jobless jump in the area was the 1.2% increase reported in Ashe County, now at 9.5%, followed by the .9% increase in Avery, landing at 8.4%. Watauga the third highest jump of .8%, at 6.4%, while Wilkes unemployment was up .5% to 7.9%, Caldwell up only .1% to 7.5%. The report was full of figures but offered little for explanation, only saying that the number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) increased in January by 2,817 while those unemployed increased 19,728. Since January 2013, the number of workers employed statewide increased 69,113, while those unemployed decreased 122,254.