RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Job openings in the Triangle plummeted this week, according to the most recent edition of the WRAL TechWire Jobs Report. But a new report finds that the nation’s 9th largest state in population ranks 10th as hardest place for employers to find talent even as “help wanted” listings drop.

Earlier this month, job numbers in the Triangle were back above 240,000 listings (not accounting for post duplications), but this week, numbers fell to 225,272, which could be tough news for area job seekers.

Yet the search goes on across the region to fill jobs available.  On a list of states where employers are struggling the most in hiring, WalletHub ranked North Carolina at No. 10 based on the rate of job openings for the latest month and the last 12 months.

Source: WalletHub

While national labor force participation rates are nearing pre-pandemic levels, reaching 62.8% in September 2023, workers are easier to find in some states than others, according to the study. To see where employers are struggling the most in hiring, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the rate of job openings for the latest month and the last 12 months.

Alaska topped the list as the No. 1 state where employers struggle in hiring, with an 8.12 job opening rate for the last 12 months. New York took the No. 51 ranking, with a low 4.6% job opening rate for the past 12 months.

Metrics that affect these numbers include national labor force participation rates, unemployment rates, and the number of job openings, according to the study. Data for the study was pulled from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hey, job seekers: These Triangle Top 50 companies are looking to hire

In North Carolina

In North Carolina, the job openings rate during the latest month was 6.50%, and the job openings rate in the past 12 months was 6.86%, leading the state to an overall rank as the 10th biggest hiring struggle in the country. That news comes as North Carolina’s unemployment rate ticked up in September.

Dr. Mark Kurt, Assistant Dean of Global Education and Professor of Economics at Elon University, said in the study that the main factor influencing the high turnover rates in the labor market is an overall increase in the demand for labor.

“As we entered the endemic phase of COVID, households increased their consumption and shifted it more towards services,” said Kurt. “At the same time, the number of those potentially interested in working has not increased.”

Kurt also said that new research provides evidence of a “wealth effect” that discouraged workers from re-entering the labor force—particularly older workers.

“The combination of these two factors creates what economists call a tight labor market, a situation where there are multiple job openings per potential worker,” said Kurt. “Tight labor markets encourage higher turnover due to the shortened time and lower effort required to find another job on average.”

Dr. Kevin Lang, Professor of Economics at Boston University, said that employers might have to be more “flexible” to suit employee demands in a tight labor market.

“In most settings, there is competition for workers,” said Lang in the report. “Better compensation (monetary and non-monetary) attracts more applicants and makes them more likely to accept the job if it is offered, but it is also more costly for firms. Firms always face this tradeoff, but when the labor market is tight, they are concerned about raising wages or providing better benefits because it is difficult to reverse these increases if and when the labor market becomes less tight.”

Tech help really wanted: 315,000 cybersecurity jobs available across US

Looking at the Job Trends—Numbers from the Oct. 23 jobs report

The exclusive WRAL TechWire Jobs Report aggregates data from 20 location-based job board searches. This week, overall postings (not accounting for post duplications) fell 4.8% compared to last week, to 225,272 listings.

Here’s a closer look at the trend:


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.)


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

Economist: Latest NC employment news triggers warning signals