RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – After showing some recent gains, the latest WRAL TechWire Jobs Report found that job advertisements have dropped to their second-lowest amount on record during the last 13 months. But demand for workers remains “healthy,” according to a UNC-Chapel Hill economist.

The drop in openings is showing up on the national job boards tracked by WRAL TechWire, using local geographic-based searches. Yet overall there is good news.

“It looks like employment in the Triangle is not following the trend in openings as it remained healthy in December, with tech employment—defined by job, not industry—still growing on a seasonally adjusted basis, albeit more slowly,” said Dr. Gerald Cohen, chief economist at the Kenan Institute, in an interview with WRAL TechWire. 

But a decrease in job openings also showed up this week in WRAL TechWire’s supplemental report on hiring needs posted by some of the region’s most well-known employers.

Who’s hiring: These 50 companies in Triangle post nearly 3,300 open jobs

“There are indications the job market, both in North Carolina and the nation, is slowing,” said Dr. Michael Walden, an economist and a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University.  “The most recent monthly labor market report for North Carolina showed a decline in the number of households with a job.”

There is some good news: In the Triangle’s entrepreneurial economy, job openings increased in the last week. 

That’s the second consecutive week of gains, following eight weeks of decline. Earlier this month, a report from the North Carolina Technology Association, NC TECH, found that tech hiring slowed across the state in December 2022.

Further, layoffs in the tech sector continue to impact workers in North Carolina and across the country in 2023, as WRAL TechWire reported earlier this month.  



The latest on the Triangle labor market

Compared to a week ago, the total number of job openings fell by 10,132 advertisements, a drop of 3.29%.

This is now the second time this month where the total aggregate job postings have dropped below 300,000 advertisements, the only two times since WRAL TechWire expanded the WRAL TechWire Jobs Report in January of 2022 where there have been fewer than 300,000 openings.

The most recent decrease in job ads came as 15 of the 20 job board searches found fewer postings than a week ago.

Our weekly WRAL TechWire Jobs Report compiles the latest information from the region’s top job boards, offering a breakdown of how many jobs are posted, which companies are hiring, and what positions are most in-demand.

Each week, WRAL TechWire tracks the total number of Triangle-area positions posted on major job websites, across 20 different searches. The month-over-month totals are compared to our January 3 jobs report, and the year-over-year totals compare to our Jan. 31, 2022 report. Here’s what’s changed since last week’s WRAL TechWire Jobs Report.  


What to expect with Friday's US jobs report

Walden said that he expects to see a significant and noticeable slowdown in hiring across the U.S. economy in the forthcoming report on the employment situation in the nation released on Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

"At the national level, I expect the change in non-farm employment in the upcoming report for January to be positive, but under 200,000," said Walden.  "This would be a noticeable slowdown.  I would also not be surprised if the national jobless rate rose by one or two tenths of a percentage point."

And data that returned that expectation would mean that the economy was moderating, said Walden.

"A moderation in both the national and state economies should not be surprising—indeed—it is exactly what the Federal Reserve has wanted in order to lower buying pressures on inflation," said Walden.  "If job gains—albeit more modest—continue and do not turn into aggregate job losses, that would be a big “win” for the Federal Reserve."

Dr. Cohen expects a figure at about 185,000 in the report.  That, said Cohen, "would be a very modest slowdown from the December, though still above the demographically sustainable number."

But one other data point to watch, said Cohen, beyond the topline employment number, is the number of workers taking temporary help positions.  That's because there are companies who are now cutting temporary workers, which could be a warning sign for the labor market and the economy, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Are we headed for a recession of a soft landing? Jobs report will offer clues

Triangle Startup Jobs Report

In the Triangle's startup economy, job opportunities are again on the rise, as they were last week, after following eight weeks of decline.

"The Triangle has some incredibly well-run startups that have taken a measured approach to hiring in the past few years," said entrepreneur Rachael Classi, the founder and CEO of Tiny Earth Toys in an interview with WRAL TechWire.  "This is allowing them to stay nimble now and hire talented individuals as they scale."

Talent is in demand in the region, and that remains to be the case in the startup economy as well, despite the recent drop, said Classi.  "In general, I see a lot of startups focused on the fundamentals in this region which can help insulate them from the macro issues at larger tech companies."

Tiny Earth Toys, which raised a second fundraising round in 2022, has also ramped up hiring in recent months, bringing on board three additional employees in the last week alone, said Classi.  

The firm decided to hire additional workers due to a ramp up in demand for the company's high-quality toy rental company, Classi said. 

"We continued to have robust investment in startups in the Triangle," said Scot Wingo, co-founder and CEO of Spiffy and the founder of the Triangle Tweener Fund."

And despite the month-over-month drop in job advertisements in the startup sector, the region's entrepreneurial economy remains poised for growth, according to multiple investors who told WRAL TechWire earlier this month that they'll continue to invest in startups in 2023.  

Wingo, for example, told WRAL TechWire that fundraising activity for early stage startups is "quite strong" entering February. 

"Startup founders are reading about all of the big tech layoffs and trying to get ahead by picking some of the most talented up before they start a serious job search," said David Gardner, managing partner at Cofounders Capital.  "We tell out CEOs and founders to always be recruiting."

Who's hiring in the Triangle?

Companies with offices in the Triangle continue to hire, with some looking to hire hundreds of workers.

That's happening even as North Carolina workers continue to be concerned that the layoffs sweeping across the tech sector might begin to hit their companies.

But there's still opportunity for workers in the state, and in the Triangle, as nearly 3,300 jobs are posted across 50 of the region's most well-known employers.

According to the latest report, 18 of the companies tracked by the WRAL TechWire Jobs Report are hiring for more positions now than they were a month ago, the same number as last week's report.

That includes firms like Thermo Fisher Scientific, which has more than doubled the number of jobs advertised compared to a month ago.  Eli Lilly, too, is hiring for more positions than they were a month ago, and will be adding more jobs to the region after announcing another expansion in the Triangle earlier this month.

The latest data show that these 50 employers are currently hiring for 3,286 open positions. That's a drop of nearly 5% compared to one month ago.


Other resources to find Triangle job postings

Below, we’ve gathered the latest upcoming job fairs, student-centric resources, and a list of Twitter accounts that track local job openings. If you’re a student looking for an internship or entry-level position at a local company or organization, your university has resources to help you get started. Quick links below:

For Johnston County job seekers: The recently launched JoCo Careers website helps job seekers find companies hiring in Johnston County. (More TechWire coverage here.)

Look for Triangle job postings on these Twitter accounts

Here are some locally run Twitter accounts that regularly share job openings in the Triangle: