RALEIGH – North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased in August by one-tenth of a percentage point compared to the prior month, the latest data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce shows.

Across North Carolina, the unemployment rate is 3.5%.  The revised data from July 2022 show an unemployment rate of 3.4%.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in August was 3.7%, up two-tenths of a percentage point from July, when the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5%.

But in North Carolina, the unemployment rate has fallen by 1.3 percentage points since August 2021, the data show.  The state’s unemployment rate in August 2021 was 4.8%.

And the data shows that even though the unemployment rate in North Carolina increased, the total number of employed persons in the state increased as well.

“The August report clearly showed a slowdown in the labor market in North Carolina,” said Dr. Michael Walden, an economist and regular contributor to WRAL TechWire.  “Still, the labor force participation rate remained stable at 60.6%.”

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What’s happening

The number of people employed in North Carolina grew by 1,375 and there are now 4,944,797 workers, according to the data.

But the number of unemployed persons also increased in August, rising by 7,904.

“While total employment rose, the added jobs were much less than in recent months,” said Walden.  “The jobless rate ticked up from 3.4% to 3.5% because more people entered the labor market to look for jobs than obtained jobs.”

And in the Triangle, there are more jobs than people who are unemployed, the most recent WRAL TechWire Jobs Report found.

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Walden told WRAL TechWire that North Carolina’s labor market is similar to the national labor market.

“Employment gains are still being made in North Carolina, but the August report showed a definite reduction in the pace of improvement,” said Walden.  “The big question is, will job gains still be made in upcoming months – albeit at a reduced level – or will we eventually reach a situation where we begin losing jobs?

And that could depend on the decisions made by the Federal Reserve as it moves to curtail inflation.