RALEIGH – What a difference a year makes in the North Carolina technology economy. From a near-record of more than 37,000 information technology job openings in April a year ago, posted jobs dropped by more than 50% year-over-year to 17,840.

That’s no joke.

The wear and tear of inflation, higher interest rates, layoffs in the tech sector and a wider economic slowdown have combined to hammer tech hiring. North Carolina also is not unique in this category. Openings across the U.S. fell to 513,968 in April, down 52% from a year ago.

Especially hard hit in N.C. were the state’s largest three metros, which also have the biggest tech sectors. Charlotte, Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill openings each fell 50% or more.

Damage done in metros

Locations, APR ‘23, decline from APR ‘22

  • Charlotte, 6,953 -53%
  • Raleigh, 5,242 -52%
  • Durham-Chapel Hill, 1,953 -50%
  • Fayetteville, 804 -20%
  • Greensboro-High Point, 579 -57%
  • Winston-Salem, 493 -39%
  • Wilmington, 255 -49%
  • Asheville, 195 -18%
  • Burlington, 192 -53%
  • Greenville, 151 -40%
  • Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, 95 -32%
  • Jacksonville, 84 -41%
  • New Bern, 35, -64%

According to the latest NC Technology Association’s monthly “IT Job Trends” report, openings across the state fell for the third consecutive month even as North Carolina’s unemployment rate continues to fall. The April unemployment report from the N.C. Department of Commerce reported a slight drop to 3.4% with more than 16,000 people joining the work force. However, two hundred “information” jobs were lost. The state still added a net 3,100 tech jobs, the report said.

The news also wasn’t as good in the NC TECH data, which reported a record of nearly 38,000 openings in May 2022.

April 2023 job trends NC TECH

NC TECH chart

Not that all the hiring news is bad. Of the 50 businesses tracked in the Triangle – the vast majority are tech focused – 49 continue to post job openings. But overall job openings across the Triangle have been declining much of this year, according to data compiled for WRAL TechWire’s weekly Jobs Report.

Looking for work? 49 of 50 firms in TechWire’s Jobs Report are still hiring

Advertised openings fell to 17,840 last month, NC TECH reported. While just a decline of 41, the total extended the “down streak” which began in February at 20,657.

So what’s going on?

“North Carolina and the US again have IT job postings at significantly lower levels than in the record-setting monthly figures for 2022,” said Andrea Fleming, Director, Talent + Workforce Development for NC TECH. “Surrounded by headlines of layoffs in the tech sector, and an unsettled US economy, these numbers don’t come as a surprise, but can still be disheartening to see.”

In an interesting twist, Fleming said it’s “important to note that for a second month, eight of the top 10 hirers are not tech companies.”

N.C. State economist Dr. Mike Walden said the latest unemployment data reflects a “slowing” jobs market.

“A positive report with more jobs and lower unemployment.  But the pace of improvement in the labor market is slowing, which is not unexpected with the Fed’s effort to reduce growth in order to curtail inflation.  The big question is whether we will have months where employment drops.  Hopefully not.”

Walden has warned in recent months that the tech sector has continued to contract after aggressive hiring during the COVID pandemic.

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