RALEIGH – The vast majority of North Carolina-based technology executives remain very optimistic about the future of their businesses and plan to continue hiring more workers despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey finds. In fact, hiring plans have grown since the most recent survey taken seven months ago despite the fact employer optimism dropped more than 10 points.

Some 93.5 execs say they are going to continue to hire workers, according to a January survey conducted by the N.C. Technology Association and Stearns Financial Group.

That’s up 10 percentage points from the June 2021 survey.

Why hire? Because 83.5% of execs surveyed expect their business to grow this year.

And economic propsects are good right now, says N.C. State economist Dr. Mike Walden.

“The latest Index [of North Carolina Leading Economic Indicators] value predicts a strong start for the North Carolina economy in 2022,” Walden write in a report issued over the weekend. “However,” he noted, “as we have learned during the past two years, in the background are strong impacts from the unpredictable virus.  So, any forecast must be accepted with caution.”

Overall economic optimism was higher in June at 96.8%, NCTECH data shows.

The hiring expectations in the new survey reflect the near-record level of information technology job openings across the state as reported by NCTECH in January.

Is tech job hiring cooling in NC? December numbers drop from record high

Companies are recruiting not just in tech. Thousands of open positions are available across the Triangle alone, according to WRAL TechWire’s exclusive Jobs Report.

Talent demand is still growing across the Triangle – here are the latest openings

And companies are competing for talent with North Carolina’s unemployment rate in December dropping below 4%.

In fact, fewer than 1% of execs in the survey said their companies were planning layoffs or furloughs.

A hiring freeze is in place or expected at less than 6% of companies.

NC’s unemployment rate drops to 3.7% in December 2021