April labor market data confirm NC job growth is still unexceptional

The data released last Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics affirms the message delivered on the Senate floor last week by some lawmakers. North Carolina has not experienced a surge in employment nor is the state’s level of employment in a better position compared to historic levels. The tax cut experiment since 2013 has failed and due to the loss in the ability to fund foundational investments to a strong economy—health and well-being of families, education of children and the workforce, infrastructure in communities and regional connections—it is likely to hold us back from reaching our full economic potential

As noted on the Budget & Tax Center’s labor market update for April 2019, year over year job growth was just 1.6 percent, below the national average of 1.8 percent. North Carolina’s employment growth remains in line with regional neighbors and has not achieved notable acceleration from tax cuts.

The state’s unemployment rate has remained steady over the past year, hovering around four percent. Unlike the recent trend nationally, North Carolina’s labor force continues to grow albeit slower than the working age population. This is likely due to the reality that there are still too few jobs for those who are looking for work.

North Carolina’s employment to population levels remain below historic levels and below the national average as does our labor force participation rate. North Carolina needs to create 16,000 jobs each month to get back to pre-Recession employment levels in three years.  While clearly getting back to that level sooner should be the goal, the month over month change in employed persons has not hit that 16,000 threshold since January 2018.

 

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