News Releases

27.07.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Local Unemployment Rates Fall Over The Year

CHAPEL HILL (July 27, 2012) – Between June 2011 and June 2012, unemployment rates fell in 91 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and in all 14 of the state’s metropolitan areas. Over that same period, labor force sizes contracted or held steady in 59 counties and in three 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 much of North Carolina over the past year, yet local unemployment rates remain extremely elevated despite the improvements,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “While unemployment rates fell in 91 counties and in all 14 metro areas over the year, unemployment rates at or above 10 percent were found in 61 counties and in eight metros.”

Compared to December 2007, which is when the economy fell into recession, North Carolina has 5.1 percent fewer jobs (-213,600) and has seen its unadjusted unemployment rate climb from 4.7 percent to 9.9 percent. In June, the state gained 16,900 more payroll jobs than it lost. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 4,025 jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 112,700 positions (+2.9 percent).

Between May and June, unemployment rates rose in 84 counties, with 61 percent of the state’s counties posting unemployment rates of at least 10 percent. Individual county rates ranged from 5.3 percent in Currituck County to 17.6 percent in Scotland County. Compared to the prior month, unemployment rates were higher in 84 counties, lower in 11 counties, and unchanged in five counties.

“Non-metropolitan labor markets continue to struggle relative to metropolitan ones,” added Quinterno. “In June, 10.9 percent of the non-metro labor force was unemployed, compared to 9.4 percent of the metro labor force. Compared to December 2007, the non-metro labor force is now 0.4 percent smaller in size, while 6.1 percent fewer persons are employed. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed rural persons has grown by 96.8 percent and now totals 146,129. Over the year, the non-metro labor force has declined by 1.3 percent, or 17,531 persons.”

Over the month, unemployment rates rose in all 14 of the state’s metro areas. Rocky Mount had the highest unemployment rate (13.2 percent), followed by Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir (11.2 percent). Durham-Chapel Hill and Asheville were tied for the lowest unemployment rate (7.9 percent), followed by Raleigh-Cary (8 percent) and Goldsboro (9 percent).

Compared to June 2011, unemployment rates were lower in 91 counties and in all 14 metros. Over the year, labor force sizes contracted or held steady in 59 counties and in three metros. Among metros, Wilmington’s labor force contracted at the fastest rate (-2.2 percent), followed by Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir and Greenville (tied at -0.1 percent). With those changes, metro areas now are home to 71.6 percent of the state’s labor force, with half of the labor force resident 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 remains weak. Collectively, employment in these three metro regions has risen by just 1.1 percent since December 2007, and the combined June unemployment rate in the three regions equaled 9.2, down from the 10.3 percent rate recorded one year ago. Of the three broad regions, the Research Triangle had the lowest unemployment rate (8.2 percent), followed by the Piedmont Triad (10 percent), and Charlotte (10.2 percent).

“Local unemployment rates fell across much of North Carolina over the past year, yet local labor markets remain distressed,” said Quinterno. “Unemployment rates remain elevated, and nearly 500,000 North Carolinians are unemployed. For North Carolinians who want and need jobs, conditions simply are not improving fast enough.”

20.07.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Job Growth In NC Turned Positive In June

CHAPEL HILL (July 20, 2012) – Job growth in North Carolina turned positive in June, with the state gaining 16,900 more jobs than it lost. This marked the first month of positive job growth posted in the state since February. While the statewide unemployment rate remained at the lowest level recorded since early 2009, unemployment in North Carolina remained disturbingly high. These findings come from new data released by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the NC Department of Commerce.

“Over the first half of 2012, North Carolina gained 30,900 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. “This slight gain unfortunately was insufficient to provide jobs for all those North Carolinians who wanted and needed work, and as a result, the state was home to an average of 451,094 unemployed persons in each month of 2012.”

In June, North Carolina employers added 16,900 more jobs than they cut (+0.4 percent). This was the second largest monthly gain recorded since January 2011. Last month, private-sector payrolls netted 11,700 positions (+0.4 percent), and public-sector employment levels expanded by 5,200 positions (+0.7 percent). Within the private sector, professional and business services gained the most jobs (+6,400, +1.2 percent), with 64.1 percent of that growth occurring in the administrative and waste management subsector. The education and health services sector netted 2,000 positions (+0.4 percent), followed by manufacturing (+1,500, +0.3 percent) and construction (+1,400, +0.8 percent). The other services sector shed the most jobs (-900, -0.6 percent), followed by leisure and hospitality services (-700, -0.2 percent).

A positive revision to the May payroll data found that the state lost 7,200 fewer jobs than first reported (-9,300 versus -16,500). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 213,600 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 4,025 payroll jobs per month, leading to a cumulative gain of 112,700 positions (+2.9 percent).

“North Carolina recently had managed to close some of the job gap caused by the recent recession,” noted Quinterno. “Yet the progress has been too slow to both replace the jobs lost during the downturn and accommodate the state’s growing workforce. Compared to December 2007, North Carolina has fewer payroll jobs in every major private industry sector except for educational and health services and professional and business services.”

The household data for June provided further evidence of a struggling labor market. While the unemployment rate held constant at 9.4 percent, the number of employed North Carolinians fell by 7,909 persons (-0.2 percent) between May and June. Over the month, the size of the labor force fell by 5,312 individuals (-0.1 percent), while the number of unemployed Tar Heels increased by 2,597 (+0.6 percent). Compared to a year ago, however, the state’s labor force is larger, more people are employed, and fewer individuals are unemployed.”

While the unemployment rate of 9.4 percent is the lowest one recorded in the state since early 2009, unemployment remains widespread across North Carolina. Not only is the statewide unemployment rate 4.4 percentage points greater than it was 4.5 years ago, but the number of unemployed Tar Heels also is 91.9 percent higher. During the first half of 2012, an average of 451,094 North Carolinians were unemployed in any given month.

To place the scale of unemployment in context, consider how the number of unemployed North Carolinians in June (439,134) exceeded the total population of the City of Raleigh, which is the state’s second most populous municipality. Furthermore, the number of people added to the unemployment rolls since 2007 (+207,188) is roughly equivalent to the population of the City of Fayetteville, which is the state’s sixth most populous municipality.

Other troubling labor market indicators include a statewide unemployment rate that has exceeded 10 percent in 35 of the last 42 months, a labor force participation ratio that has fallen steadily during the year, and an employment-to-population ratio that remains near a 36-year low.

“North Carolina’s job market made little headway during the first half of 2012,” observed Quinterno. “While monthly job growth numbers have fluctuated widely, when the dust settled, the state had just 0.8 percent more jobs than it did last December. The job market is in no way, shape, or form mending itself.”

06.07.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

New Month, Same Employment Story

CHAPEL HILL (July 6, 2012) – The national labor market turned in another lackluster performance in June,  as employers added just 80,000 more payroll positions than they eliminated. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate held steady at 8.2 percent. Although the national labor market started 2012 on a positive note, growth has slowed markedly over the course of the year.

“June marked the 21st consecutive month of job growth in the United States,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Over the past three months, the national economy has netted an average of 75,000 jobs per month, a pace that, while positive, is well below the average pace of job growth recorded over the prior three-month period. The current rate of growth simply is insufficient to drive unemployment down to normal levels anytime soon.”

In June, the nation’s employers added 80,000 more payroll positions than they cut. Gains occurred entirely in the private sector (+84,000), while government payrolls fell by 4,000 positions. Additionally, the payroll employment numbers for April and May underwent revisions; with the updates, the economy gained 145,000 jobs over those two months, not the 146,000 positions previously reported.

Payroll levels in most major private-sector industry groups either grew or held steady in June. Professional and business services added the most positions (+47,000, with 51.9 percent of the growth occurring in the administrative and waste services subsector), followed by leisure and hospitality services (+13,000, driven entirely by the accommodation and food service subsector) and manufacturing (+11,000, due entirely to hiring by manufacturers of durable goods). Information shed the most positions, on net (-8,000).

“The American economy has added jobs every month for close to two years and has netted 902,000 positions so far in 2012,” noted Quinterno. “The current average rate of job growth—roughly 150,000 positions per month—nevertheless is insufficient to close the large jobs gap facing the United States. Even more alarmingly, the rate of job growth has decelerated over the course of the year. ”

Weak employment conditions were evident in the June household survey. Last month, 12.7 million Americans (8.2 percent of the labor force) were jobless and seeking work. The number of unemployed Americans and the unemployment rate essentially held steady last month and were down compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, the size of the labor force increased by 156,000 persons, and the share of the population participating in the labor force held steady at 63.8 percent. The share of the adult population with a job, meanwhile, remained at a depressed level (58.6 percent).

Last month, the unemployment rate was higher among adult male workers than female ones (7.8 percent versus 7.4 percent). Unemployment rates were higher among Black (14.4 percent) and Hispanic workers (11 percent) than among White ones (7.4 percent). The unemployment rate among teenagers was 23.7 percent. Moreover, 7.4 percent of all veterans were unemployed; the rate among recent veterans (served after September 2001) was 9.5 percent.

Jobs remained scarce in June. Last month, the underemployment rate equaled 14.9 percent. Among unemployed workers, 41.9 percent had been jobless for at least six months with the average spell of unemployment lasting for 39.9 weeks. The leading cause of unemployment remained a job loss or the completion of a temporary job, which was the reason cited by 56.7 percent of unemployed persons in June. Another 25.4 percent of unemployed persons in June were reentrants to the labor market, while 10.5 percent were new entrants.

“While the American economy added jobs in June, the rate of growth in the labor market has slowed over the course of 2012,” observed Quinterno. “While the causes of this slowdown are a topic for analysis and debate, the bottom line remains that the economy simple is not adding enough jobs to accommodate all those Americans who need and want work. Adequate hiring simply is not occurring, and as a result, mass long-term unemployment is becoming an even more entrenched feature of the American labor market.”

22.06.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Local Unemployment Rates Fall Over The Year

CHAPEL HILL (June 22, 2012) – Between May 2011 and May 2012, unemployment rates fell in 88 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and in 13 of the state’s 14 metropolitan areas. Over that same period, labor force sizes contracted in 65 counties and in four 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 dropped across much of North Carolina over the past year, but unemployment nevertheless remains at distressingly high levels,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “While unemployment rates fell in 88 counties and 13 metros over the year, unemployment rates at or above 10 percent were found in 51 counties and in 2 metros.”

Compared to December 2007, which is when the economy fell into recession, North Carolina has 5.7 percent fewer jobs (-237,700) and has seen its unadjusted unemployment rate climb from 4.7 percent to 9.4 percent. In May, the state lost 16,500 more payroll jobs than it gained. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of roughly 3,281 jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 88,600 positions (+2.3 percent).

Between April and May, unemployment rates rose in 76 counties, and slightly more than half of all North Carolina counties posted unemployment rates of at least 10 percent. Individual county rates ranged from 5.2 percent in Currituck County to 16.9 percent in Scotland County. Compared to the prior month, unemployment rates were higher in 76 counties, lower in 21 counties, and unchanged in three counties.

“Non-metropolitan labor markets continue to struggle compared to metropolitan ones,” added Quinterno. “In May, 10.5 percent of the non-metro labor force was unemployed, compared to 9 percent of the metro labor force. Compared to December 2007, the non-metro labor force is now 1 percent smaller in size, while 6.2 percent fewer individuals are employed. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed rural persons has grown by 87.5 percent and now totals 139,221. Over the year, the non-metro labor force has declined by 1.7 percent, or 22,677 persons.”

Over the month, unemployment rates rose in 13 of the state’s 14 metro areas and fell in one metro (Burlington). Rocky Mount had the highest unemployment rate (12.5 percent), followed by Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir (10.9 percent). Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest rate (7.4 percent), followed by Asheville (7.6 percent) and Raleigh-Cary (7.7 percent).

Compared to May 2011, unemployment rates were lower in 88 counties and 13 metros. Some 65 counties and four metros experienced declines in the sizes of their local labor forces. Among metros, Wilmington’s labor force contracted at the fastest rate (-2.6 percent), followed by Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir (-1 percent), Rocky Mount (-0.4 percent), and Charlotte (-0.1 percent). With those changes, metro areas now are home to 71.5 percent of the state’s labor force, with half 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 remains weak. Collectively, employment in these three metro regions has risen by just 0.6 percent since December 2007, and the combined May unemployment rate in the three regions equaled 8.8 percent. Of the three broad regions, the Research Triangle had the lowest unemployment rate (7.8 percent), followed by the Piedmont Triad (9.5 percent), and Charlotte (9.7 percent).

“Although local unemployment rates fell across much of the state over the past year, local labor markets remain far from healthy,” said Quinterno. “Unemployment rates remain elevated, and sizable numbers of North Carolinians remain jobless. The past year has witnessed noticeable drops in the sizes of local labor forces—drops that suggest that unemployment rates are declining due to people leaving the labor force rather than obtaining jobs.”

15.06.2012 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

State Job Market Weakens In May

CHAPEL HILL (June 15, 2012) – Labor market conditions in North Carolina deteriorated in May, with the state losing 16,500 more jobs than it gained. This marked the third consecutive month of negative job growth in the state. While the statewide unemployment rate remained at the lowest level recorded since early 2009, the steady rate resulted from a contraction in the size of the labor force. These findings come from new data released by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the NC Department of Commerce.

“Key labor force indicators in North Carolina have weakened over the course of 2012,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “The state recorded gains in jobs in January and February, but growth has since turned negative. Over the past three months, the labor market has given back more than three-fourths of the gains logged earlier in the year.”

In May, North Carolina employers cut 16,500 more jobs than they added (- 0.4 percent). This was the largest monthly decline in absolute terms since June 2009. Last month, private-sector payrolls fell by 15,800 positions (-0.5 percent), and public-sector employment levels dipped by 700 positions (-0.1 percent). Within the private sector, professional and business services shed the most jobs (-7,000, -1.3 percent) due to sizable payroll reductions in the administrative and waste management subsector. The construction industry lost 4,800 jobs (-2.8 percent), followed by leisure and hospitality services (-3,600, -0.9 percent) and education and health services (-2,600, -0.5 percent). The trade, transportation, and utilities sector gained the most jobs (+1,900, +0.3 percent), followed by manufacturing, which netted 400 jobs (+0.1 percent).

A negative revision to the April payroll data found that the state lost 2,600 more jobs than first reported (-3,900 versus -1,300). With that revision, North Carolina now has, on net, 237,700 fewer payroll positions (-5.7 percent) than it did in December 2007. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state has netted an average of 3,281 payroll jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 88,600 positions (+2.3 percent).

“Over the past few years, North Carolina had succeeded in closing some of the job gap caused by the recent recession,” noted Quinterno. “Over the past three months, however, the state’s labor market has given back a portion of those modest gains. Compared to December 2007, North Carolina has fewer payroll jobs in every major private industry sector except for educational and health services and professional and business services.”

The household data for May also point to a stagnant labor market. While the unemployment rate held constant at 9.4 percent, the steady rate was tied to a contraction in the size of the labor force. Over the month, the size of the labor force fell by 9,478 individuals (-0.2), driven by drops in both the numbers of employed persons (-5,803, -0.1 percent) and unemployed persons (-3,675, -0.8 percent) in the state.

While the unemployment rate of 9.4 percent is the lowest one recorded in the state since early 2009, unemployment remains widespread across North Carolina. Not only is the statewide unemployment rate 4.4 percentage points greater than it was almost 4.5 years ago, but the number of unemployed Tar Heels also is 90.6 percent higher.

To place the scale of unemployment in context, consider how the number of unemployed North Carolinians in May (435,908) exceeded the total population of the City of Raleigh, which was the state’s second most populous municipality in 2010. Furthermore, the number of people added to the unemployment rolls since 2007 (+207,188) is roughly equivalent to the population of the City of Fayetteville, which was the state’s sixth most populous city in 2010.

Other troubling labor market indicators include a statewide unemployment rate that has exceeded 10 percent in 35 of the last 41 months and the fact that the labor force participation rate has fallen steadily since January. Similarly, the share of the adult population with a job remains at a depressed level.

“North Carolina’s job market began 2012 on a positive note yet has been unable to maintain that momentum,” observed Quinterno. “The state has experienced negative net job growth for the past three months and has given back the bulk of the gains recorded earlier in the year. As has been the case for the past several years, the jobs data call out for policymakers to change course and pay considerably more attention to the ongoing, slow-moving crisis in the labor market.”