RALEIGH – North Carolina’s unemployment rate in January remained the same rate as in December at 3.8% but N.C. State economist Dr. Mike Walden sees some positive news as he looks inside the numbers.

“The state January report was strong, just like the national report.  Both employment surveys – the survey of households and the survey of businesses – showed gains from January,” Walden tells WRAL TechWire.

“The good news is the State labor market continues to improve.  The question is whether the improvement will continue as the Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates more in an effort to further slow the pace of economic growth and moderate inflation.”

UNC economists are ‘sticking with our recession call’ after jobs report

Where the jobs are

“Interestingly, just as in the national report, sectors that gained the most jobs – leisure/hospitality, construction, and government – were the exact sectors that have had trouble attracting employees in the past two years.  Perhaps this is a sign the post-pandemic labor market is moving back to what it was pre-pandemic.”

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, industries posting job gains in January were:  Leisure & Hospitality Services, 4,900; Construction, 3,900; Government, 2,700; Education & Health Services, 1,900; Information, 1,700; Manufacturing, 1,400; Financial Activities, 1,100; and Other Services, 600.

Industries losing jobs included Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 2,100; and Professional & Business Services, 800.

The national jobless rate fell to 3.4%, down 0.1%.

North Carolina jobs increased by more than 10,000 in January from December to 4.97 million – up 23,000 year over year, the state Department of Commerce reported Monday. The number of unemployed dropped nearly 4,200 from December to nearly 194,000. That’s an increase of more than 7,000 year over year.

Not all news was good, however.

“The one downside of the report was a modest drop in the labor force participation rate, from 60.5% in December to 60.4% in January.  This is contrary to the increase at the national level,” Walden says.