12.16.2016 News Releases, Policy Points

NC Unemployment Rate Ticked Up In Nov.

CHAPEL HILL, NC (December 16, 2016) – In November, employers in North Carolina added 9,000 more payroll jobs than they cut, due entirely to hiring in the private sector. So far in 2016, North Carolina has netted 78,200 payroll jobs (+1.9 percent), due primarily to private-sector hiring. Meanwhile, the statewide unemployment rate of 5 percent was 0.6 percentage points lower in November than it was a year ago.

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

“The job growth experienced so far in North Carolina in 2016 is no different from the pattern experienced since the beginning of the recovery in early 2010,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Although job growth has been consistent over the past 6.5 years, that growth has proven insufficient to accommodate all those who want and need work.”

From October to November, North Carolina employers added 9,000 more jobs than they cut (+0.2 percent). Private-sector payrolls added, on net, 10,800 positions (+0.3 percent), with public-sector payrolls shrinking by 1,800 positions (-0.2 percent). Within private industry, the professional and business services sector gained, on net, the most payroll jobs (+4,800, +0.8 percent), followed by the leisure and hospitality services sector (+3,600, +0.8 percent) and the manufacturing sector (+2,000, +0.4 percent). Meanwhile, the education and health services sector shed the most payroll jobs (-2,700, -0.5 percent), followed by the construction sector (-1,200, -0.6 percent).

A revision to the October payroll data found that the state netted slightly fewer jobs than first estimated (+5,500 versus +5,700). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 185,400 more payroll positions (+4.5 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 512,000 positions (+13.3 percent).Over the year, North Carolina employers added 81,800 more jobs than they cut (+1.9 percent). Private-sector payrolls gained, on net, 75,500 positions (+2.1 percent), while public-sector payrolls added, on net, 6,300 jobs (+0.9 percent). Within private industry, the professional and business services sector netted the most jobs (+25,800, +4.3 percent), followed by the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+18,300, +2.3 percent) and the construction sector (+10,600, +5.6 percent).

“The slow-but-steady payroll growth experienced in North Carolina since 2010 has not closed the state’s sizable jobs gap,” noted Quinterno. “North Carolina indeed has more jobs than it did when the recession started, but it still has far fewer jobs than it needs relative to the population growth that has occurred over the same period.”

The monthly household data for November also pointed to some improvements in the state’s labor market. Although the statewide unemployment rate of 5 percent was higher than the 4.9 percent rate in October, the rate was lower than the 5.6 percent one logged a year earlier.

Much of the increase in the statewide unemployment rate between October and November was due to a 27,293 person expansion (+0.6 percent) in the size of the labor force. Between October and November, the number of unemployed North Carolinians rose by 6,234 persons (+2.6 percent), while the number of employed persons increased by 21,059 individuals (+0.5 percent).

With those changes, North Carolina now has a total labor force of 4,880,813 persons, of whom 4,637,823 are employed, 242,990 unemployed.

The month-over-month expansion in the size of the labor force further was reflected in a rise in the share of working-age North Carolinians participating in the labor market to 61.5 percent from 61.3 percent. That rate, however, remains just 0.8 percentage points above the lowest monthly rate logged at any point since January 1976.

“Slow-but-steady growth continues to define North Carolina’s recovery from the ‘Great Recession,’ yet that growth is inadequate to meet the employment needs of a growing state,” said Quinterno. “That is why the growth experienced so far during the recovery has failed to produce meaningful improvements in the wages, incomes, and living standards of the North Carolinians who depend on the labor market to support themselves and their families.”

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