Asheville, NC – December 2023 Jobs Report – Mountain Metro Maintains Momentum

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Asheville’s job market continued its steady climb in December 2023, adding jobs for the eighth consecutive month and finishing the year on a positive note. While the pace of growth moderated slightly compared to previous months, the overall trend indicates a resilient and expanding local economy.


  • Total nonfarm employment: Increased by 1,100 jobs in December, bringing the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) to a record high of 208,300 jobs (preliminary data).
  • Unemployment rate: Held steady at 3.2%, remaining below the national average (3.5%) and matching the historic low for the Asheville MSA.
  • Year-over-year growth: The Asheville MSA added 6,100 jobs since December 2022, representing a 2.9% increase, surpassing the national job growth rate (1.5%).

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Professional and business services: Led the way with 300 new jobs, driven by gains in healthcare, legal services, and management consulting.
  • Leisure and hospitality: Added 200 jobs, with continued strength in restaurants and bars, partially offset by losses in accommodation.
  • Education and health services: Saw modest growth of 100 jobs, primarily in educational and support activities.
  • Fastest-growing occupations: Healthcare occupations like registered nurses, physician assistants, and home health aides continued to see strong demand. Other notable gainers included software developers, construction laborers, and truck drivers.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Manufacturing: Declined by 100 jobs, primarily in the food and beverage processing sector.
  • Retail trade: Shed 50 jobs, with losses concentrated in department stores and clothing stores.
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting: Remained relatively flat with minimal job gains or losses.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Asheville’s job growth outpaced the national average in December 2023, continuing a trend that has been in place for most of the year.
  • Compared to December 2022, the Asheville MSA added 2,200 more jobs, representing a significantly higher growth rate (2.9% vs. 1.3%).

Compare to Previous Month:

  • The December job gain was slightly lower than the 1,300 jobs added in November 2023, suggesting a possible moderation in the pace of growth.
  • However, the overall trend remains positive, and the December figure is still above the average monthly job gain for the year (900 jobs).

Future Outlook:

  • Economic uncertainty at the national level presents some headwinds, but Asheville’s strong local economic drivers, including tourism, healthcare, and outdoor recreation, are expected to continue supporting job growth in the near term.
  • The Mountain Area Workforce Development Board projects continued job growth in 2024, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in 2023.

10 Growing Occupations in Asheville (December 2023):

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Physician Assistants
  3. Software Developers
  4. Construction Laborers
  5. Truck Drivers
  6. General and Operations Managers
  7. Home Health Aides
  8. Retail Salespersons
  9. Customer Service Representatives
  10. Marketing Specialists

10 Companies Hiring Now in Asheville (January 2024):

  1. Mission Hospital
  2. Buncombe County Schools
  3. Biltmore Estate
  4. Wicked Weed Brewing
  5. Highland Brewing Company
  6. GE Aviation
  7. Siemens
  8. TIAA
  9. AppSense
  10. Black Bear Resort