MONROE — Union Is one of eight counties in the 100-county state of North Carolina with an unemployment rate at 5% or lower, based on statistics compiled through the end of December 2020, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce (DOC).

For the second month in a row, Union County held at 5.0% unemployment. By comparison, the state’s unemployment rate was at 6.0% at the end of 2020, and the national unemployment was at 6.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Watauga County is at 4.3%, which is the lowest unemployment rate in North Carolina, according to DOC, and Scotland County’s 10.2% is the state’s highest.

Of the N.C. counties that border Union, Mecklenburg is at 6.1% unemployment, Cabarrus is at 5.6%, Stanly is at 5.1% and Anson is at 7.1%.

Union County’s labor force is at 122,035 — which is roughly half of the estimated 240,000 residents — while the number of unemployed is 6,080, per DOC.

A year ago, at the end of December 2019, Union County’s unemployment rate was 2.9% and the state’s unemployment rate was 3.3%.