Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the NC Division of Employment Security released data on the state of North Carolina’s labor market. While the decline in the official unemployment rate may have generated headlines, the reality is the labor market continues to provide too few job opportunities for those who seek work.
The number of missing workers, which estimates who would be in the labor market if job opportunities were stronger, provides additional insight into the state of North Carolina’s labor market. As of April 2014, there are an estimated 242,164 missing workers in North Carolina. Again, these are North Carolinians who would be seeking work if jobs were available. If these workers were included in the official unemployment rate that rate would be nearly twice the official unemployment rate: 11.4 percent rather than 6.2 percent.