RALEIGH – North Carolina’s record for the number of people keeps climbing, with 13,000 jobs added in July to the more than 5 million reported in June. While the unemployment rate reported Friday remains at 3.3%, the state’s economy keeps creating more opportunities despite challenges of inflation and some layoffs that keep happening.

“Borrowing from the classic Sonny and Cher song, the July labor force numbers show the ‘economic beat goes on’ in North Carolina,” N.C. State economist Dr. Mike Walden tells WRAL TechWire.

“Using seasonally-adjusted numbers, a strong 13,000 jobs were added at businesses in the State, and there was a similar number of additional people reported as being employed.  The 13,000 boost in jobs was the largest since January.”

The Department of Commerce noted in the jobs report:

“North Carolina’s unemployment rate decreased 0.4 of a percentage point from a year ago. The number of people employed increased 12,229 over the month to 5,060,181 and increased 81,640 over the year. The number of people unemployed decreased 1,159 over the month to 171,445 and decreased 22,097 over the year.”

Analyzing the numbers, Walden discounted chances of a recession in the near future.

More people working in NC than ever before – unemployment drops to 3.3%

“With a strong labor market, economic growth in North Carolina should continue, and any possibility of a recession is pushed ahead even later in 2024.,” he said. “If the inflation rate continues to moderate, the ingredients for a soft landing are certainly in the mix.  The economic beat” keeps beating!”

But not all news was positive.

“Big gains were made in leisure/hospitality, government, and education/health services jobs as those sectors continue to recover workers lost during the pandemic,” Walden explained.  “One downside was another drop in information employment [-1,000]

Walden pointed out that some news is better than it was before the pandemic in 2020-21.

“Both the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate remained unchanged.  Both of these rates are lower than their pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

“While this means more people who want jobs now have jobs, it also means a smaller percentage of individuals who could be working are in the labor force.  The question is whether labor force participation will eventually return to 2019 levels, or will the relative size of the labor force continue its long term decline.”

Number of people working in NC is a record – seasonally adjusted or not

The Commerce Department broke down changes in jobs numbers by several categories.

Major industries experiencing increases:

  • Leisure & Hospitality Services, 5,500
  • Government, 4,200
  • Education & Health Services, 3,100
  • Financial Activities, 2,000
  • Manufacturing, 400
  • Other Services, 100

Major industries experiencing decreases:

  • Information, 1,000
  • Professional & Business Services, 600
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 400
  • Construction, 200Mining & Logging, 100