The official unemployment rate ticked up in August to 6.8 percent but if you count those missing workers who would be in the labor market if job opportunities were stronger that rate would be 12. 6 percent.
Our update to the number of missing workers in North Carolina reflects the ongoing challenge for workers when there are too few jobs for those who want to work. It also demonstrates the failure of the unemployment rate alone to tell the story of what is happening in the state’s labor market.
The number of missing workers at the state level is calculated based on expected labor force participation rates while accounting for demographic trends like an aging population. As an indicator, the number of missing workers and an unemployment rate that accounts for them provides information about how far the current labor market is from meeting all the needs of workers in the economy.
North Carolina’s recovery will continue to struggle to deliver benefits broadly as long as so many workers remain missing from the labor force because there are too few jobs.