News Releases

17.06.2016 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

No Net Job Growth For Second Straight Month

CHAPEL HILL, NC (June 17, 2016) – In May, employers in North Carolina effectively added no more payroll jobs than they cut, as slight job losses in the private sector were offset by gains in the public sector. May further was the second straight month with effectively no net job growth in the state. Over the year, North Carolina gained 78,100 more payroll jobs than it lost, due primarily to private-sector growth. The statewide unemployment rate of 5.1 percent in May was lower than in April, and it was 0.7 percentage points lower than it had been a year earlier.

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

“North Carolina has experienced relatively little job growth so far in 2016,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Since the beginning of the year, the state has added just 32,700 more jobs than it has lost, with effectively no net job growth having occurred in three of the last four months.”

Between April 2016 and May 2016, North Carolina employers shed 1,600 more jobs than they cut (-0.1 percent). Private-sector payrolls cut, on net, 3,800 positions (-0.1 percent), with public sector payrolls expanding by 2,200 positions (+0.3 percent). Within private industry, the professional and business services shed, on net, the most payroll jobs (-3,500, -0.6 percent), followed by the construction sector (-2,700, -1.4 percent) and the financial activities sector (-2,500, -1.1 percent). The manufacturing sector, meanwhile, added, on net, 2,700 jobs (+0.6 percent), followed by the education and health services sector (+2,600, +0.4 percent).

A revision to the April payroll data found that the state lost rather than gained jobs (-1,600 versus an original estimate of +1,000 jobs). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 139,900 more payroll positions (+3.4 percent) than it did in December 2007. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 6,200 payroll jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 466,500 positions (+12.1 percent).

Over the year, North Carolina employers added 78,100 more jobs than they cut (+1.8 percent). Private-sector payrolls gained, on net, 75,700 positions (+2.2 percent), while public-sector payrolls added, on net, 2,400 jobs (+0.3 percent). Within private industry, the trade, transportation, and utilities sector netted the most jobs (+23,700, +3 percent), followed by the professional and business services sector (+23,200, +4 percent) and the leisure and hospitality services sector (+12,900, +2.8 percent).

“The slow-but-steady payroll growth experienced in North Carolina since 2010 still has not yet closed the state’s sizable job 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 should have. And the state’s modest rate of progress actually has slowed during the first five months of 2016.”

The monthly household data for May offered a different view of the labor market. The statewide unemployment rate of 5.1 percent was down from the 5.4 percent rate in April. While the May unemployment rate was the lowest one logged since early 2008, it still was slightly above the pre-recessionary rate of 5 percent posted in December 2007.

Between April and May, the number of unemployed North Carolinians decreased by 13,589 persons (-5.1 percent), while the number of employed persons rose by 6,870 (+0.1 percent). Over that period, the size of the statewide labor force shrank by 6,719 persons (-0.1 percent).

Over the year, the statewide unemployment rate fell from 5.8 percent, with the number of unemployed North Carolinians dropping by 25,278 persons (-9.2 percent) to a total of 250,544. During that same period, the number of employed persons rose by 142,023 individuals (+3.2 percent) to 4,618,342, and the size of the labor force increased by 116,745 persons (+2.5 percent), reaching a total size of 4,868,886 persons.

Other improvements recorded between May 2015 and May 2016 include a rise in the share of working-age North Carolinians participating in the labor market to 61.8 percent from 61.1 percent and in the share of working-age North Carolinians who are employed to 58.6 percent from 57.6 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 has improved noticeably since the worst part of the ‘Great Recession,’ but the pace of job growth, especially so far in 2016, is too modest to accommodate all those who want work,” said Quinterno. “Labor market conditions also are too weak to generate meaningful improvements in wages, incomes, and material living standards.”

20.05.2016 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

NC Netted Virtually No Payroll Jobs in April

CHAPEL HILL, NC (May 20, 2016) – In April, employers in North Carolina effectively added no more payroll jobs than they cut, as slight job gains in the private sector were offset by losses in the public sector. Over the year, North Carolina gained 95,600 more payroll jobs than it lost, due chiefly to private-sector growth. The statewide unemployment rate of 5.4 percent in April was slightly lower than in March, and it was 0.4 percentage points lower 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.

“So far in 2016, North Carolina has gained 36,500 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 2015 was a gain of 25,100 jobs, and the 2014 gain was 27,800 jobs. Even with the gains logged so far in 2016, North Carolina has just 143,700 more jobs than it did at the end of 2007.

Between March 2016 and April 2016, North Carolina employers added 1,000 more jobs than they cut (+/ 0.0 percent). Private-sector payrolls netted 3,100 positions (+0.1 percent), with public sector payrolls contracting by 2,100 positions (-0.3 percent). Within private industry, the professional and business services netted the most payroll jobs (+4,100, +0.7 percent), followed by the information sector (+1,300, +1.7 percent). The manufacturing sector, meanwhile, shed, on net, 2,700 jobs (-0.6 percent).

A revision to the March payroll data found that the state gained more jobs than first reported (+14,300 versus an original estimate of +12,500 jobs). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 143,700 more payroll positions (+3.5 percent) than it did in December 2007. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 6,400 payroll jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 470,300 positions (+12.2 percent).

Over the year, North Carolina employers added 95,600 more jobs than they cut (+2.3 percent). Private-sector payrolls gained, on net, 94,900 positions (+2.7 percent), while public-sector payrolls added, on net, 700 jobs (+0.1 percent). Within private industry, most every major industrial sector netted payroll jobs, with the professional and business services sector gaining the most positions (+29,700, +5.1 percent), followed by the trade, transportation, and utilities (+25,100, +3.2 percent) and leisure and hospitality services (+17,500, +3.8 percent) sectors.

“The slow-but-steady payroll growth experienced in North Carolina since 2010 has not yet closed the state’s sizable job 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 should have.”

The monthly household data for April contained some positive news about the state’s labor market. The statewide unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, down slightly from the 5.5 percent logged in March. Between March and April, the number of unemployed North Carolinians decreased by 1,357 persons (-0.5 percent), while the number of employed persons rose by 20,245 (+0.4 percent). Over that same period, the size of the statewide labor force grew by 18,888 persons (+0.4 percent).

Over the year, the statewide unemployment rate fell from 5.8 percent, with the number of unemployed North Carolinians falling by 10,571 persons (-3.8 percent) to a total of 264,491. During that same period, the number of employed persons rose by 141,785 individuals (+3.2 percent) to 4,611,868, and the size of the labor force increased by 131,214 persons (+2.8 percent), reaching a total size of 4,876,359 persons.

Even though North Carolina’s statewide unemployment rate has fallen from the high of 11.3 percent reached in early 2010, the current rate of 5.4 percent remains above the pre-recessionary one of 5 percent. The fact that the unemployment rate has not returned to the pre-recessionary figure after 100 months is a troubling reality, for in no other recent recession has North Carolina’s unemployment rate remained elevated for so long.

Other improvements recorded between April 2015 and April 2016 include a rise in the share of working-age North Carolinians participating in the labor market to 62 percent from 61.1 percent and in the share of working-age North Carolinians who are employed to 58.6 percent from 57.5 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. “The pace basically is sufficient to accommodate the growth in the size of the state’s labor force, yet it is not rapid enough to eliminate the large job gap remaining from the last recession.”

15.04.2016 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

North Carolina’s Slow Recovery Continues

CHAPEL HILL, NC (April 15, 2016) – In March, employers in North Carolina added 12,500 more payroll jobs than they cut, with job gains in the private sector offset by job losses in the public sector. Over the year, North Carolina gained 104,300 more payroll jobs than it lost, due mainly to private-sector growth. The statewide unemployment rate of 5.5 percent in March was unchanged from February, and it was 0.3 percentage points lower than it was a year earlier.

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

“During the first quarter of 2016, North Carolina gained 33,700 more payroll jobs than it 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 2015 was a gain of 13,600 jobs. Even with the gains logged recently, North Carolina has just 140,900 more jobs than it did at the end of 2007.”

Between February 2016 and March 2016, North Carolina employers added 12,500 more jobs than they cut (+0.3 percent). Private-sector payrolls netted 14,000 positions (+0.4 percent), with public sector payrolls contracting by 1,500 positions (-0.2 percent). Within private industry, the trade, transportation, and utilities sector netted the most payroll jobs (+6,600, +0.8 percent), followed by the professional and business services (+3,900, +0.6 percent) and the education and health services sector (+3,000, +0.5 percent).

A revision to the February payroll data found that the total payroll level was effectively unchanged from the January figure. With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 140,900 more payroll positions (+3.4 percent) than it did in December 2007. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 6,400 payroll jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 467,500 positions (+12.2 percent).

Over the year, North Carolina employers added 104,300 more jobs than they cut (+2.5 percent). Private-sector payrolls gained, on net, 100,600 positions (+2.9 percent), while public-sector payrolls added, on net, 3,700 jobs (+0.5 percent). Within private industry, most every major industrial sector netted payroll jobs, with the professional and business services sector gaining the most positions (+28,400, +4.9 percent), followed by the trade, transportation, and utilities (+27,400, +3.5 percent) and leisure and hospitality services (+16,300, +3.6 percent) sectors.

“The slow-but-steady payroll growth experienced in North Carolina since 2010 has not yet closed the state’s sizable job gap,” noted Quinterno. “North Carolina indeed has more jobs than it did when the recession started, but it does not have as many jobs as it needs.”

The monthly household data for March contained some positive news about the state’s labor market. The statewide unemployment rate in March was 5.5 percent, which was unchanged from the rate logged in February. Between February and March, the number of unemployed North Carolinians decreased by 131 persons (-0.1 percent), while the number of employed persons rose by 34,284 (+0.8 percent). Over that same period, the size of the statewide labor force grew by 34,153 persons (+0.7 percent).

Over the year, the statewide unemployment rate fell from 5.8 percent, with the number of unemployed North Carolinians falling by 7,017 persons (-2.6 percent) to a total of 265,918. During that same period, the number of employed persons rose by 128,774 individuals (+2.9 percent) to 4,591,429, and the size of the labor force increased by 121,757 persons (+2.6 percent), reaching a total size of 4,857,347 persons.

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 61.8 percent from 61 percent and in the share of working-age North Carolinians who are employed to 58.4 percent from 57.5 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. “The pace is sufficient to accommodate the growth in the size of the state’s labor force, yet it is not rapid enough to eliminate the large job gap created by the last recession.”

24.03.2016 News Releases No Comments

NC Labor Market Moved Sideways In Feb.

CHAPEL HILL, NC (March 24, 2016) – In February, employers in North Carolina cut 900 more payroll jobs than they added, with slight losses in the private sector offset by slight gains in the public sector. Over the year, North Carolina gained 86,700 more payroll jobs than it lost, due primarily to private-sector growth. The statewide unemployment rate of 5.5 percent in February was down slightly from January and was 0.2 percentage points lower 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 two months of 2016, North Carolina gained 20,200 more payroll jobs than it 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 2015 was a gain of 17,700 jobs. Even with the gains logged recently, North Carolina has just 127,400 more jobs than it did at the end of 2007.”

Between January 2016 and February 2016, North Carolina employers cut 900 more jobs than they added (+/- 0 percent). Private-sector payrolls shed, on net, 1,400 positions (+/- 0 percent), with public sector payrolls growing slightly (+500 jobs, +0.1 percent). Within private industry, the professional and business services sector netted the most payroll jobs (+4,200, +0.7 percent), while the education and health services sector shed the most jobs, on net (-1,800, -0.3 percent).

A revision to the January payroll data found that the state gained fewer jobs than first reported (+21,100 versus an original estimate of +23,200 jobs). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 127,400 more payroll positions (+3.1 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 454,000 positions (+11.8 percent).

Over the year, North Carolina employers added 86,700 more jobs than they cut (+2.1 percent). Private-sector payrolls gained, on net, 81,700 positions (+2.3 percent), while public-sector payrolls added, on net, 5,000 jobs (+0.7 percent). Within private industry, most every major industrial sector netted payroll jobs, with the professional and business services sector gaining the most positions (+23,700, +4.1 percent), followed by the trade, transportation, and utilities (+20,000, +2.5 percent) and leisure and hospitality services (+15,300, +3.4 percent) sectors.

“The slow-but-steady payroll growth experienced in North Carolina since 2010 has not yet closed the state’s sizable job gap,” noted Quinterno. “North Carolina indeed has more jobs than it did when the recession started, but not as many as it needs.”

The monthly household data for February contained some positive news about the state’s labor market. The statewide unemployment rate in February was 5.5 percent, which was down from the 5.6 percent rate logged in January. Between January and February, the number of unemployed North Carolinians decreased by 164 persons (-0.1 percent), while the number of employed persons rose by 25,687 (+0.6 percent). Over that same period, the size of the statewide labor force grew by 25,523 persons (+0.5 percent).

Over the year, the statewide unemployment rate fell from 5.7 percent, with the number of unemployed North Carolinians falling by 3,998 persons (-1.5 percent). During that same period, the number of employed persons rose by 103,145 individuals (+2.3 percent), and the size of the labor force increased by 99,147 persons (+2.1 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 61.4 percent from 60.9 percent) and in the share of working-age North Carolinians who are employed (to 58 percent from 57.4 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. “The 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 over eight years ago.”

03.02.2016 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Local Unemployment Rates Rose In 2015

CHAPEL HILL, NC (February 3, 2016) – From December 2014 to December 2015, unemployment rates (unadjusted) rose in 81 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and in 14 of the state’s 15 metropolitan areas. Over the same period, the size of the local labor force grew in 59 counties and in 12 metro areas.

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

“In 2015, many local labor markets in North Carolina continued their slow recovery from the last recession,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “While unemployment rates rose in the overwhelming majority of the state’s counties and metro areas over the year, labor force sizes also increased in many of the same communities. That suggests that rising unemployment rates in many places were driven by people entering or returning to the labor market.”

Compared to December 2007, which is when the national economy fell into recession, North Carolina now has 2.9 percent more payroll jobs (+121,900). In December 2015, the state gained 6,900 more jobs than it lost (+0.2 percent). Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted some 6,400 payroll jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 448,700 payroll jobs (+11.7 percent).

Between November and December of 2015, local unemployment rates fell in 70 of the state’s 100 counties, rose in 21 counties, and held constant in 9 counties. Individual county rates ranged from 3.9 percent in Buncombe County to 12 percent in Graham County. Overall, 3 counties posted unemployment rates greater than or equal to 10 percent, and 34 counties posted rates between 6 and 9.9 percent; 63 counties had unemployment rates between 3.9 and 5.9 percent.

“The combined December unemployment rate in North Carolina’s non-metropolitan counties was 4.2 percent,” noted Quinterno. “These 54 non-metropolitan counties are home to 22 percent of the state’s labor force. Compared to December 2007, non-metro areas have 5.4 percent fewer employed persons, while the number of unemployed individuals is 8.5 percent greater. Over that time, the size of the non-metro labor force has fallen by 4.8 percent. In fact, non-metropolitan North Carolina has been responsible for the entire decline in the state’s labor force that has occurred since late 2007.”

Earlier in 2015, the Labor and Economic Analysis Division implemented new definitions of metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties consistent with federal changes made based on the 2010 Census. With those updates, North Carolina now has 46 metropolitan counties and 54 non-metropolitan ones. Additionally, the state has 15 metropolitan statistical areas, up from 14; the addition is the three-county New Bern metropolitan statistical area.

Between November and December, unemployment rates fell in 13 of the state’s metro areas. Rocky Mount had the highest unemployment rate (7.3 percent), followed by Fayetteville (6.8 percent) and Goldsboro (5.9 percent). Asheville had the lowest unemployment rate (4.2 percent), followed by Raleigh-Cary (4.4 percent), and Durham-Chapel Hill (4.5 percent).

Compared to December 2014, unemployment rates in December 2015 were higher in 81 counties and in 14 metro areas. Over the year, however, labor force sizes increased in 59 counties and in 12 metros. The statewide labor force (unadjusted), meanwhile, was 3.5 percent larger (+158,693 individuals) in December 2015 than it was in December 2014.

Almost all of the year-over-year growth in the size of the state’s labor force occurred in the state’s metro areas, which collectively added 146,758 persons (+5.8 percent). Among individual metros, Burlington’s labor force grew at the fastest rate (+9.5 percent) over the course of the year, followed by Charlotte (+8.5 percent) and Raleigh (+5.6 percent).

Decreases in labor force sizes occurred in Fayetteville (-9.2 percent), Jacksonville (-5.3 percent), and Goldsboro (-0.4 percent).

With those changes, metro areas now are home to 78.3 percent of the state’s labor force, with 56.6 percent of the labor force residing in the Triangle, Triad, and Charlotte metros.

Improvements in North Carolina’s overall labor market are being driven by developments in the Charlotte, Research Triangle, and Piedmont Triad regions. Collectively, employment in the 3 broad regions has risen by 11.5 percent since December 2007; the combined unemployment rate in December 2015 totaled 4.8 percent, compared to 4.5 percent in December 2007. These regions also were responsible for almost all of the employment growth that occurred over the year.

Of the three broad regions, the Research Triangle had the lowest December unemployment rate (4.6 percent), followed by Charlotte (4.9 percent) and the Piedmont Triad (5.1 percent).

In December 2015, the number of unemployment insurance initial claims filed in North Carolina totaled 24,427 down from the 26,767 initial claims filed a year earlier (-8.7 percent).

Also in December 2015, North Carolinians received a (nominal) total of $18.7 million in unemployment insurance compensation, down from the (nominal) $27.6 million received in December 2014 (-32.4 percent). The average weekly unemployment insurance payment in North Carolina in December 2015 was $238.

“Many local labor markets in North Carolina experienced some improvements in 2015, but those gains came at a very leisurely pace,” said Quinterno. “Many of the improvements were concentrated in the state’s metropolitan areas, especially the Research Triangle, the Piedmont Triad, and Charlotte. Smaller metros and non-metropolitan areas continue to lag behind during a slow recovery that is about to enter its sixth year.”