News Releases

27.11.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Local Unemployment Rates Fell Over The Year

CHAPEL HILL, NC (November 27, 2012) – Between October 2011 and October 2012, unemployment rates fell in 98 of North Carolina’s 100 countries and in all 14 of the state’s metropolitan areas. Over the same period, labor force sizes grew in 68 counties and in 13 metro areas. These findings come from new estimates prepared by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Local unemployment rates fell across virtually all of North Carolina over the last 12 months,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “The improvements do not alter the fact that unemployment rates remain elevated. Last month, 35 counties and two metro areas posted unemployment rates of at least 10 percent. For context, consider how only seven counties and no metro areas had unemployment rates of 10 percent or greater in October 2008.”

Compared to December 2007, which is when the national economy fell into recession, North Carolina has 5.1 percent fewer jobs (-211,900) and has seen its unadjusted unemployment rate jump from 4.7 percent to 8.8 percent. In October, the state gained 8,000 more payroll jobs than it lost (+0.2 percent). Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 3,575 jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 114,400 positions (+3 percent).

Between September 2012 and October 2012, local unemployment rates fell in 76 counties, rose in 16 counties, and were unchanged in eight counties. Individual county rates ranged from 5.5 percent in Currituck County to 15.7 percent in Scotland County. Overall, 35 counties posted unemployment rates greater than or equal to 10 percent, and 65 counties posted rates between 5 and 10 percent.

“Non-metropolitan labor markets continue to lag behind metropolitan ones,” noted Quinterno. “In October, 9.8 percent of the non-metro labor force was unemployed, compared to 8.3 percent of the metro labor force. Compared to December 2007, the non-metro labor force now has 3.5 percent fewer employed persons, while the number of unemployed individuals has grown by 78.8 percent. On a positive note, the size of the non-metro labor force increased over the year. Over that same period, the number of employed persons rose, the number of unemployed persons dropped, and the unemployment rate fell by 1.6 percentage points.”

Over the month, unemployment rates declined in all 14 metro areas. Rocky Mount had the highest unemployment rate (11.7 percent), followed by Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir (10 percent) and Fayetteville (9.3 percent). Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest unemployment rate (6.7 percent), followed by Asheville (6.8 percent) and Raleigh-Cary (7 percent).

Compared to October 2011, unemployment rates were lower in October 2012 in 98 counties and in all 14 metro areas. Over the year, labor force sizes increased in 68 counties and in 13 metros. Among metros, Goldsboro’s labor force expanded at the fastest rate (+3 percent), followed by that of Rocky Mount (+2.7 percent). With those changes, metro areas now are home to 71.5 percent of the state’s labor force, with 50.1 percent of the labor force residing in the Triangle, Triad, and Charlotte metros.

In the long term, any meaningful recovery will hinge on economic and employment growth in the Charlotte, Research Triangle, and Piedmont Triad regions. Yet growth in these metros remains weak. Collectively, employment in these three metro regions has risen by 3.7 percent since December 2007, and the combined October unemployment rate in the three regions equaled 8.1, down from the 9.6 percent rate recorded one year ago yet well above the 6.3 percent rate logged in October 2008. Of the three broad regions, the Research Triangle had the lowest unemployment rate (7.1 percent) in October, followed by the Piedmont Triad (8.8 percent), and Charlotte (9.1 percent).

“Despite the broad decline in unemployment rates over the past year, labor market conditions across North Carolina remain far from healthy and still are much worse than they were in October 2008, which is when the state’s labor market entered its period of sharp decline,” said Quinterno. “Unemployment rates remain elevated across the state, and 1.3 times as many North Carolinians are jobless and seeking work than was the case four years ago.”

16.11.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

October Employment In North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, NC (November 16, 2012) – In October, employers in North Carolina added 8,000 more payroll positions than they eliminated (+0.2 percent), thanks to hiring across a range of private-sector industries. Also in October, the number of employed North Carolinians increased, while both the number of unemployed persons and the statewide unemployment rate fell. The October unemployment rate of 9.3 percent was the lowest one recorded since January 2009, when the rate equaled 9 percent. These findings come from new data released by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the NC Department of Commerce.

“North Carolina’s labor market grew in October, as measured by a number of important indicators,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “The overall number of jobs in the state rose to 3.96 million, the size of the labor force increased to 4.71 million, the number of employed persons grew to 4.23 million, and the number of unemployed person fell to 0.44 million. The unemployment rate dropped to 9.3 percent, the lowest level recorded since early 2009.”

In October, North Carolina employers added 8,000 more jobs than they cut (+0.2 percent). Private-sector payrolls netted 8,900 positions (+0.3 percent), while public-sector payrolls shed 900 jobs (-0.1 percent), due to cuts in state government payrolls (-3,800, -2 percent). Within the private sector, leisure and hospitality services netted the most jobs (+3,600, +0.9 percent), with 75 percent of the growth occurring in the arts, entertainment, and recreation subsector. The trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector netted 2,900 jobs (+0.4 percent), with 58.6 percent of the gain tied to the retail subsector. Manufacturing payrolls expanded by 2,600 jobs (+0.4 percent), followed by the other services sector (+2,400 jobs, +1.6 percent). The only sectors to shed jobs were professional and business services (-3,400, -0.6 percent), education and health services (-1,800, -0.3 percent), and mining and logging (-100, -1.8 percent).

A revision to the September payroll data found that the state gained more jobs than first estimated (+3,900 versus +100). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 211,900 fewer payroll positions (-5.1 percent) than it did in December 2007. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state has netted an average of 3,575 payroll jobs per month, leading to a cumulative gain of 114,400 positions (+3 percent).

“North Carolina’s labor market posted relatively strong growth in the first quarter of 2012, stumbled in the second quarter of the year, stagnated in the third quarter, but began the fourth quarter on a somewhat promising note,” added Quinterno. “North Carolina now has 32,600 more jobs than it did at the start of the year. The general pattern of 2012 has been one of modest growth in the private sector offset by modest declines in the public sector.”

The household data for October also offered an improved view of labor market conditions. Last month, the unemployment rate fell to 9.3 percent, the lowest level recorded since January 2009, when the statewide rate equaled 9 percent. Last month, the number of employed North Carolinians rose (+43,699, +1 percent), as did the overall size of the labor force (+34,678, +0.7 percent). The number of unemployed persons dropped by 9,021 (-0.3 percent).

Over the past year, the total number of unemployed North Carolinians has fallen by 53,054 persons (-10.8 percent), and the number of employed persons has grown by 95,425 persons (+2.3 percent). The unemployment rate also has fallen by 1.3 percentage points, dropping to 9.3 percent from 10.6 percent. In short, more people are working than was the case a year ago.

That said, the recent growth in the statewide labor market is weak in relation to the severity of the employment problems facing the state. North Carolina’s unemployment rate has equaled or exceeded 9 percent in every month since January 2009 and has ranged as high as 11.4 percent. Compared to December 2007, which was when the “Great Recession” began, the statewide unemployment rate is 4.3 percentage points higher, and the number of unemployed North Carolinians is 92.2 percent larger. During the first 10 months of 2012, an average of 449,263 North Carolinians were unemployed in any given month.

Other troubling labor market indicators include a statewide unemployment rate that has exceeded 10 percent in 35 of the last 46 months and depressed labor force participation rates and employment-to-population ratios. Although the labor force participation rate and employment-to-population ratio both rose in October for the second consecutive month, the two measures remain near 36-year lows.

“The October job report contained a number of positive findings, in terms of data related both to employer payrolls and to the labor market experiences of individual households,” observed Quinterno. “The improvements, while welcome, should not blind policymakers to the severity of the problems facing the labor market. North Carolina’s labor market remains scarred by a massive jobs gap, slow payroll growth, and widespread unemployment. North Carolina’s labor market is by no means on the road to a robust recovery.”

09.11.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

South by North Strategies To Author Book On Regional Analysis

CHAPEL HILL, NC (November 9, 2012) – South by North Strategies, Ltd. announced today that it has entered into a publishing agreement with M.E. Sharpe, Inc. to author a book about regional economic and social analysis. The book has the working title Running the Numbers: A Practical Guide to Regional Economic and Social Analysis and is scheduled for release in late 2013.

“This book project is a natural outgrowth of South by North Strategies’ consulting work and research in the areas of economic and social policy,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd. and the author of the book. “The goal of the book is demystify regional economic and social data and analysis through clear, concise explanations of fundamental concepts, sources, and methods and through the use of practical examples based on actual American metropolitan regions.”

Running the Numbers ideally will benefit any curious reader, and the hope is to craft a practical guide that will assist regional elected officials, public administrators, business executives, and journalists, as well as the staff members and senior managers of nongovernmental and philanthropic organizations,” added Quinterno. “The book also will be of great value to students in a broad range of academic disciplines related to public affairs.”

The book’s publisher will be M.E. Sharpe, Inc., an award-winning independent publisher of books and journals in the social sciences and humanities, including titles in economics, business, political science, management, public administration, and history. The firm is located in Armonk, NY. Harry Briggs, executive editor, acquired the manuscript for M.E. Sharpe.

02.11.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Local Employment Conditions Improved Over The Year

CHAPEL HILL, NC (November 2, 2012) – Between September 2011 and September 2012, unemployment rates fell in every one of North Carolina’s 100 countries and in all 14 of the state’s metropolitan areas. Over the same period, labor force sizes grew in 58 counties and in 11 metro areas. These findings come from new estimates prepared by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

“Local unemployment rates fell across North Carolina over the year,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Local labor market conditions nevertheless remained far from healthy in September, with 38 counties and two metros posting unemployment rates of at least 10 percent.”

Compared to December 2007, which is when the economy fell into recession, North Carolina has 5.4 percent fewer jobs (-223,700) and has seen its unadjusted unemployment rate climb from 4.7 percent to 8.9 percent. In September, the state gained 100 more payroll jobs than it lost (+/- 0.0 percent). Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 3,310 jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 102,600 positions (+2.7 percent).

Between August 2012 and September 2012, the local unemployment rate fell in 97 counties, rose in one county, and was unchanged in two counties. Individual county rates ranged from 5.1 percent in Currituck County to 16.1 percent in Scotland County. Overall, 38 counties posted unemployment rates greater than or equal to 10 percent, and 62 counties posted rates between 5 and 10 percent.

“Non-metropolitan labor markets continue to struggle relative to metropolitan ones,” noted Quinterno. “In September, 9.9 percent of the non-metro labor force was unemployed, compared to 8.5 percent of the metro labor force. Compared to December 2007, the non-metro labor force is now 0.1 percent smaller in size, and 4.7 percent fewer non-metro residents are employed. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed rural persons has grown by 79 percent and totals 132,912. On a positive note, the size of the non-metro labor force essentially held steady over the year, while the number of employed persons rose, and the number of unemployed persons declined.”

Over the month, unemployment rates fell in all 14 metro areas. Rocky Mount had the highest unemployment rate (12 percent), followed by Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir (10.3 percent). Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest unemployment rate (6.9 percent), followed by Asheville (7.1 percent) and Raleigh-Cary (7.2 percent).

Compared to September 2011, unemployment rates were lower in September 2012 in all 100 counties and in all 14 metros. Over the year, labor force sizes contracted or held steady in 42 counties and in three metros. Among metros, Wilmington’s labor force contracted at the fastest rate (-2.2 percent), followed by Winston-Salem (-0.7 percent). With those changes, metro areas now are home to 71.6 percent of the state’s labor force, with 50.2 percent of the labor force residing in the Triangle, Triad, and Charlotte metros.

In the long term, any meaningful recovery will hinge on economic and employment growth in the Charlotte, Research Triangle, and Piedmont Triad regions. Yet growth in these metros remains weak. Collectively, employment in these three metro regions has risen by 2.5 percent since December 2007, and the combined September unemployment rate in the three regions equaled 8.3, down from the 9.7 percent rate recorded one year ago. Of the three broad regions, the Research Triangle had the lowest unemployment rate (7.3 percent), followed by the Piedmont Triad (9.1 percent), and Charlotte (9.2 percent).

“Despite the broad decline in unemployment rates over the past year, labor market conditions across North Carolina remain far from normal,” said Quinterno. “Unemployment rates remain elevated across the state, and some 421,000 North Carolinians are jobless and seeking work, even though the odds of finding a job remain stacked against them.”

19.10.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

State Labor Market Sends Mixed Signals In Sept.

CHAPEL HILL (October 19, 2012) – North Carolina recorded no net job growth in September, as a decline in public-sector payrolls offset almost all of an increase in private-sector payrolls. Over the month, the state gained 100 more payroll jobs than it lost (+/-0.0 percent). At the same time, the number of employed North Carolinians rose, and both the number of unemployed persons and the statewide unemployment rate fell. These findings come from new data released by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the NC Department of Commerce.

“North Carolina’s labor market sent mixed signals in September,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “The overall number of jobs in the state held steady at 3.95 million, but the labor force grew in size and the number of employed persons rose. In the process, the statewide unemployment rate fell to 9.6 percent from 9.7 percent.”

In September, North Carolina employers added 100 more jobs than they cut (+/-0.0 percent). Private-sector payrolls netted 1,500 positions (+/-0.0 percent), while public-sector payrolls shed 1,400 jobs (-0.2 percent), due primarily to reductions in state government payroll levels. Within the private sector, professional and business services gained the most jobs (+6,000, +1.2 percent), with virtually all of the growth occurring in the administrative and waste management subsector. The leisure and hospitality sector netted 2,200 jobs (+0.5 percent), followed by construction (+1,100, +0.7 percent). At the other end of the spectrum, the finance sector shed the most jobs (-3,600 positions, -1.7 percent), followed by the trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector (-3,000, -0.4 percent) and manufacturing (-1,200, -0.3 percent).

A revision to the August payroll data found that the state gained fewer jobs than first estimated (+600 versus +1,100). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 223,700 fewer payroll positions (-5.4 percent) than it did in December 2007. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state has netted an average of 3,310 payroll jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 102,600 positions (+2.7 percent).

“North Carolina’s labor market began 2012 on a strong footing, but it has stumbled as the year has progressed,” noted Quinterno. “Since March, the state’s labor market has given back 23.5 percent of the job gains recorded during the year’s first quarter. The general pattern in 2012 has been for job losses in the public sector to offset modest private-sector gains—a pattern especially evident in the year’s third quarter. Had public payroll levels held constant in 2012, the state now would have 5,800 more jobs, all else being equal.”

The household data for September offered a more positive view of labor market conditions. Last month, the unemployment rate fell to 9.6 percent, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 3,576 persons (-0.8 percent). Moreover, the number of employed North Carolinians rose (+29,232, +0.7 percent), as did the overall size of the labor force (+25,656, +0.6 percent).

Over the past year, the total number of unemployed North Carolinians has fallen by 48,682 persons (-9.8 percent), and the number of employed persons has grown by 61,656 persons (+1.5 percent). Put differently, more people report having jobs that was the case a year ago.

That said, the increase in employment is weak relative to the severity of the employment problems facing the state. North Carolina’s unemployment rate has exceeded 9 percent in every month since January 2009 and has ranged as high as 11.4 percent. Compared to December 2007, which was when the “Great Recession” began, the statewide unemployment rate is 4.6 percentage points higher, and the number of unemployed North Carolinians is 96 percent greater. During the first nine months of 2012, an average of 450,304 North Carolinians were unemployed in any given month.

Other troubling labor market indicators include a statewide unemployment rate that has exceeded 10 percent in 35 of the last 45 months and depressed labor force participation rates and employment-to-population ratios. Although both the labor force participation rate and employment-to-population ratio rose in September after having declined for six straight months, both measures remain near 36-year lows.

“Job growth in North Carolina has lagged over the course of 2012,” observed Quinterno. “Despite modest overall growth in the private sector, the state has just 0.5 percent more jobs than it did last December and only 0.8 percent more jobs than it did one year ago. While the number of employed persons has increased, unemployment remains extremely elevated.”