RALEIGH – North Carolina’s unemployment rate remains low at 3.4% despite growing concerns about a possible recession and some layoffs being reported across the state.

The U.S. jobless rate is 3.5%.

The new data citing July statistics led veteran economist Dr. Mike Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus, to praise the N.C. economy.

“Similar to the national report, North Carolina’a labor market shows no signs of slowing down,” he told WRAL TechWire. “Both employment surveys – of households and of firms – showed employment and non-farm jobs increasing in July from their levels in June.

” The unemployment rate remained stable at 3.4%, and the labor force participation rate edged up from 60.5% in June to 60.6% in July.  However, the labor force participation rate still remains below its pre-pandemic level.  Government, professional/business services, leisure/hospitality, and education/health care where the leaders in hiring, while information (tech), finance, and personal services had very modest gains.”

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“Many businesses still have jobs to fill, and they continue to hire people for them,” Walden added.

“If there is fear of a recession, it is not showing up yet in North Carolina’s job market.  Perhaps firms believe North Carolina will survive any recession much better than the nation.  Or, maybe firms are looking beyond any recession and are still focused on hiring for unfilled job positions.  Regardless of the reason, North Carolina’s jobs and employment continue to expand and offer more opportunities for workers.”

The number of people working in July grew by 14,216 over June to nearly 5 million. That’s up more than 213,000 from a year go, the state reported. Seasonably adjusted, the total is nearly 4.8 million.

Meanwhile the number of unemployed slipped by some 500 to 171,711. That total is a decline of more than 70,000 from last year.

Growing employment sectors included:

  • Government, 12,900
  • Professional & Business Services, 5,100
  • Education & Health Services, 3,600
  • Leisure & Hospitality Services, 3,600
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 1,800
  • Construction, 1,200
  • Manufacturing, 1,100
  • Financial Activities, 700
  • Information, 700
  • Other Services, 700
  • Mining & Logging employment remained unchanged

Source: N.C. Department of Commerce

“Since July 2021, Total Nonfarm jobs increased 154,500 with the Total Private sector increasing by 158,800 and Government decreasing by 4,300,” the July report notes.

“Major industries experiencing increases were Professional & Business Services, 46,500; Leisure & Hospitality Services, 31,400; Education & Health Services, 22,600; Manufacturing, 13,100; Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 13,100; Financial Activities, 13,000; Other Services, 7,700; Construction, 6,800; and Information, 4,800.

“Major industries experiencing decreases were Government, 4,300; and Mining & Logging, 200.”