12.18.2015 News Releases, Policy Points

North Carolina Labor Market Improved In Nov.

CHAPEL HILL, NC (December 18, 2015) – In November, employers in North Carolina added 11,400 more payroll jobs than they cut, with all of the gains originating in the private sector. Over the year, North Carolina gained 91,200 more payroll jobs than it lost, due overwhelmingly to growth in the private sector. The statewide unemployment rate of 5.7 percent in November was unchanged from October and was 0.2 percentage points higher than a year earlier.

These findings come from new data released today by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the NC Department of Commerce.

“Through the first 11 months of 2015, North Carolina has gained 75,900 more payroll jobs than it has lost,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “For comparison, the corresponding figure in 2014 was a gain of 94,900 jobs. Even with the gains logged recently, North Carolina has just 111,000 more jobs than it did at the end of 2007.”

Between October 2015 and November 2015, North Carolina employers added 11,400 more jobs than they cut (+0.3 percent). Private-sector payrolls gained, on net, 11,600 positions (+0.3 percent), with public sector payrolls remaining essentially unchanged. Within private industry, the education and health services sector netted the most payroll jobs (+4,700, +0.8 percent), followed by the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+4,200, +0.5 percent) and the professional and business services sector (+4,000, +0.7 percent). The construction sector, meanwhile, lost the most jobs, on net (-4,200, -2.2 percent).

A revision to the October payroll data found that the state lost fewer jobs than first reported (-1,000 versus an original estimate of -3,100 jobs). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 111,000 more payroll positions (+2.7 percent) than it did in December 2007. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 6,300 payroll jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 437,800 positions (+11.4 percent).

Over the year, North Carolina employers added 91,200 more jobs than they cut (+2.2 percent). Private-sector payrolls gained, on net, 88,500 positions (+2.5 percent), while public-sector payrolls added, on net, 2,700 jobs (+0.4 percent). Within private industry, every major industrial sector netted payroll jobs, with the professional and business services sector gaining the most positions (+20,400, +3.5 percent), followed by the education and health services (+16,500, +2.9 percent) and the trade, transportation, and utilities (+13,300, +1.7 percent) sectors.

“The slow-but-steady payroll growth experienced in North Carolina since 2010  has not yet closed the state’s job gap—a gap that may be as high as 411,000 payroll jobs,” noted Quinterno. “North Carolina indeed has more jobs than it did when the recession started, but not as many as it should have.”

The monthly household data for November also contained some positive news about the state’s labor market. The statewide unemployment rate in November was 5.7 percent, which was unchanged from the rate logged in October. Between October and November, the number of unemployed North Carolinians decreased by 2,015 persons (-0.7 percent), while the number of employed persons rose by 15,466 (+0.3 percent). Over that same period, the size of the statewide labor force grew by 13,451 persons (+0.3 percent).

Over the year, the statewide unemployment rate rose from 5.5 percent, with the number of unemployed North Carolinians rising by 15,615 persons (+6.1 percent). During that same period, the number of employed persons rose by 133,817 individuals (+3.1 percent), and the size of the labor force increased by 149,432 persons (+3.2 percent).

Other improvements recorded over the course of the year include a rise in the share of working-age North Carolinians participating in the labor market (to 61.1 percent from 59.9 percent) and in the share of working-age North Carolinians who are employed (to 57.6 percent from 56.6 percent). Although both of these measures have increased recently, they remain not too far from the lowest monthly rates recorded at any point since January 1976.

“North Carolina’s labor market continues to improve at a slow-but-steady pace,” said Quinterno. “That pace is basically sufficient to keep pace with the growth in the size of the labor force, while bringing about some reductions in the large job gap that remains from the last recession—a recession that began almost eight years ago.”

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