NC’s unemployment rate drops – economist hails progress on several fronts

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North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.6% in June, and N.C.State economist Dr. Mike Walden is excited due to several factors unlike in the May report which showed the rate dropping as fewer people were seeking work, thus not in the labor force.

“This was a very positive report,” Walden, who recently retired from NCSU  as a teacher but still follows the economy closely, said after reviewing the June data.


“All the indicators moved in the correct direction – jobs up, labor force up, unemployment down, unemployment rate down, and job gains spread among all sectors.”

Walden also point out growth in one sector where companies had been having trouble landing workers.

“Interestingly, the hospitality/leisure sector – where reports indicate hiring has been difficult – added over 7,000 jobs,” he explained.

“So perhaps pay increases and other perks are starting to work there.”

Gov. Roy Cooper recently vetoed legislation that would have brought an early end to higher unemployment benefits offered due to the pandemic. Some critics have raised concerns that the higher benefits were discouraging people from seeking work.

After reviewing data for May, Walden declared that the “job market is not robust.”

“While the eye-catching headline will be North Carolina’s unemployment rate continued to drop in May – down to 4.8% from April’s 5% – a look at the behind-the-scenes numbers shows several concerns,” Walden said at the time.

He cited lack of new jobs, a drop in labor force participation, and other factors.

Not this month.


The 4.6% rate compares to 4.6% in May The jobless rate has dropped for nine consecutive months and is nearly half that of June 2020, which stood at 8.8%.

The state’s jobless rate also is well below the national unemployment rate of 5.9%.

To put the rates in perspective, N.C. unemployment stood at 3.6% before the pandemic struck in March 2020.

More than 12,000 workers found jobs in June, raising employment level to 4.7 million. That’s 365,000 more over June 2020.

Unemployment fell more than 8,000 to 231,636. That’s 192,329 fewer year-over-year.

Job growth came in also every category:

  • Government, 19,800
  • Leisure & Hospitality Services, 7,300
  • Professional & Business Services, 4,700
  • Construction, 2,000
  • Education & Health Services, 1,800
  • Financial Activities, 1,700
  • Manufacturing, 1,700
  • Other Services, 1,400
  • Information, 900
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 600
  • Mining  and logging employment was unchanged


Since June 2020, jobs have increased in several categories:

  • Leisure & Hospitality Services, 80,900
  • Professional & Business Services, 44,800
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 41,100
  • Manufacturing, 18,100
  • Government, 16,500
  • Education & Health Services, 13,500
  • Construction, 11,000
  • Other Services, 7,200
  • Information, 6,800
  • Financial Activities, 5,100
  • Mining & Logging, 100

Original Source: WRAL TechWire