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NC Budget and Tax Center

In the newest issue of Prosperity Watch—the Budget & Tax Center’s weekly analysis of key trends and conditions facing the state’s economy—we see how North Carolina’s job creation rates compare to the employment gains of past recoveries at identical points in the business cycle.

NC Budget and Tax Center

Despite the good news that the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.7% in March, this silver lining comes attached to a darkening cloud—the emergence of a two-tier labor market with rapidly growing high-wage and low-wage jobs, and little in between.  What’s happening to these middle-wage jobs?

See the newest issue of Prosperity Watch for details….

NC Budget and Tax Center

Crossposted from Prosperity Watch.

According to new labor market data for released by the Division of Employment Security for February, North Carolina’s economy continues to improve but still faces a long up-hill climb to replace the jobs lost in the Great Recession and to meet the demands of population growth. On the positive side, the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month, from 10.2 percent to 9.9 percent in February. Additionally, labor force participation, a key measure of prime-age workers either currently employed or actively seeking employment, grew by 5,000 in February, following a 17,000 increase in the number of employed workers over the same period. Given that the percentage of the population currently employed improved from 55.6% to 56.7% in February, these data points suggest that the drop in the unemployment rate is genuinely reflecting higher employment in the labor market, and not simply discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force.

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Cross-posted on Prosperity Watch

The good news from yesterday’s labor-market data release from the NC Division of Employment Security is that the state’s unemployment rate dropped dramatically from 10.4 percent in October to 10.0 percent in November.

The bad news? North Carolina still faces a jobs deficit of more than 500,000 jobs to get back to pre-recession employment levels (see chart below).

North Carolina’s jobs deficit includes the number of jobs lost since the start of the recession (295,000 jobs) plus the number of jobs needed to keep pace with the state’s population growth (214,500 jobs).

Although the monthly household survey indicated a month-over-month employment increase of nearly 13,000, the survey of business establishments showed a much smaller increase of only 3,800 jobs. In either case, the state’s economy is falling short of creating the number of jobs necessary for the state to reach pre-recession employment levels within three years (16,000 new jobs per month).

Over the past year, North Carolina’s economy has added fewer than 20,000 new jobs.