RALEIGH, N.C. — Unemployment rates dropped in August in all the state’s 14 metropolitan areas, and 88 counties had jobless rates under figures reported one year ago, the North Carolina Employment Securities Commission reported Friday.

“This is the first time in three months that unemployment has dropped in all the metro areas,” said ESC spokesman Larry Parker. “To me, that’s a sign that we are doing well in all areas, not just one.”

The decline in 88 of 100 counties is a further sign of North Carolina’s economic strength, he added.

Based on figures that were not seasonally adjusted, North Carolina’s overall unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent from 5.1 percent. Even though the number of people working decreased by nearly 4,000 to 4.261 million, another 16,185 dropped out of the workforce. Most of those no longer working or seeking jobs are students who returned to school, Parker said.

Using seasonally adjusted figures, the state jobless rate stayed at 4.8 percent in figures reported last week.

In Raleigh-Cary, the jobless rate fell to 3.4 percent in August from 3.7 in July. Durham’s rate fell to 3.9 percent from 4.2 percent. Rocky Mount reported a decline to 6.7 cent, down 0.4.

Goldsboro’s jobless rate fell to 4.8 percent from 5.9 percent, the largest drop among metro areas.

Raleigh-Cary reported a jump in 3,100 jobs, with 2,200 of those coming in the government sector. Jobs are up 19,700 from a year ago, with the biggest increase (5,600) coming in professional and business services.

Jobs were up 3,000 from July in Durham, with 2,200 of those coming in government. Since last year, Durham’s job roles have increased by 7,300. Most (2,700) were added in professional and business services.

Rocky Mount added 1,600 jobs in August but is still 600 under the job count of August 2005.

Fayetteville employers added 1,900 jobs in August. Compared to 2005, jobs are up 1,100.

Metropolitan statistical area unemployment rates for August and decline from July were:

  • Asheville … 3.4 percent, down from 3.9 percent .
  • Burlington … 5.4 percent, down from 5.8 percent.
  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC … 4.8 percent, down from 4.9 percent.
  • Durham … 3.9 percent, down from 4.2 percent.
  • Fayetteville … 5.7 percent, down from 6.2 percent.
  • Goldsboro … 4.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent.
  • Greensboro-High Point … 5.0 percent, down from 5.3 percent.
  • Greenville … 5.4 percent, down from 6.0 percent.
  • Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton … 5.9 percent, down from 6.4 percent.
  • Jacksonville … 4.4 percent, down from 5.1 percent.
  • Raleigh-Cary … 3.5 percent, down from 3.8 percent.
  • Rocky Mount … 6.7 percent, down from 7.1 percent.
  • Wilmington … 3.6 percent, down from 4.0 percent.
  • Winston-Salem … 4.3 percent, down from 4.7 percent.