RALEIGH – The latest data on North Carolina employment indicates that the state’s job market is bullish for the future.

That’s according to Dr. Michael Walden, a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University and a regular contributor to WRAL TechWire.

“The North Carolina county job report is bullish, with significant drops in the unemployment rate[s],” said Walden.

Despite the increase in North Carolina’s unemployment rate in September, the latest data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce shows that unemployment rates decreased in 99 of North Carolina’s 100 counties during the month.  The unemployment rate rose in Warren County, which also saw the highest unemployment rate of any county in the state at 7.6% in September.

However, the latest data is not seasonally adjusted.

“I do foresee slow-downs in NC jobs just as the national job market slows,” said Walden.  “But I don’t see job losses yet, just more modest gains.”

Those modest job and employment gains mean that in many areas of the state, employment increased in September.  There’s also new data that shows that job openings rose in September, though the latest WRAL TechWire Jobs Report shows that job openings in the Triangle, specifically, fell in October compared to the number of openings in the region the month before.

Unemployment rate rises – for second straight month – now 3.6% in NC

The latest on employment in NC

Still, there were 92 counties in North Carolina that saw unemployment rates at or lower than 5% including the lowest unemployment rates in the state measured in Orange County and Buncombe County, at 2.6%.

In the Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan statistical area, unemployment was 2.7%, tied for the lowest unemployment rate of any metro area with the Asheville metropolitan statistical area.

All 15 of the state’s metro areas saw decreases in the unemployment rate, according to the data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

“The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) increased in September by 35,919 to 4,951,030, while those unemployed decreased by 29,687 to 169,997,” a statement from the North Carolina Department of Commerce reads.  “Since September 2021, the number of workers employed statewide increased 174,474, while those unemployed decreased 35,405.”

But, said Walden, the state’s employment situation may change in 2023.  That’s because many are expecting the Federal Reserve to continue to raise interest rates, resulting in slower economic growth, which could mean fewer jobs and fewer job openings in 2023.

“Job losses won’t come until next year,” said Walden.

Triangle job market slowing despite tens of thousands of openings