State Unemployment Rate Lowest in 6 Years

Posted March 30, 2007

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— Not since the “dot com” boom days has the jobless rate in North Carolina been as low as it was in February when the jobless rate dipped to 4.5 percent.

That’s the best showing since the 4.4 percent rate reported in January 2001, the North Carolina Employment Security Commission reported on Friday.

Even as the state’s population and workforce continues to grow, the number of people finding work also is climbing to record highs, the ESC added.

The number of people working jumped 18,746 in January to 4,321,463. That new record total stretches the state’s highest jobs streak to seven months.

The ranks of the unemployed, meanwhile, dropped to 201,397, a decrease of 6,702.

North Carolina’s economy has added a net increase of 117,231 jobs since February of last year.

“North Carolina’s labor force and employment numbers continue to climb to record numbers,” said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. “Over the past couple of years, our state has attracted many companies that want to call North Carolina home and it has certainly benefited our labor force. At the same time, businesses already here have been
expanding. We continue to see that trend in the first couple of months of 2007.”

The state’s unemployment rate matched the national rate for the second consecutive month.

Over the past year, North Carolina’s unemployment rate has ranged as high as 5 percent last September to February’s low of 4.5 percent.

The sectors leading in job growth in February were education and health services (1,900), leisure and hospitality (1,700) and financial services (1,300).

Over the past year, education and health services and professional services added the most jobs – 19,600 and 19,400 each.

In the state’s metropolitan areas, most dipped slightly.

• Asheville — 4.0 percent, remained the same since January.
• Burlington — 5.3 percent, down from 5.6 percent.
• Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC — 4.6 percent, down from 4.8 percent.
• Durham — 3.9 percent, down from 4.0 percent.
• Fayetteville — 5.5 percent, down from 5.6 percent.
• Goldsboro — 4.8 percent, up from 4.7 percent.
• Greensboro-High Point — 5.1 percent, remained the same.
• Greenville — 5.1 percent, down from 5.2 percent.
• Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton — 6.0 percent, down from 6.4 percent.
• Jacksonville — 4.6 percent, up from 4.5 percent.
• Raleigh-Cary — 3.7 percent, remained the same.
• Rocky Mount — 6.1 percent, down from 6.5 percent.
• Wilmington — 4.2 percent, down from 4.5 percent.
• Winston-Salem — 4.4 percent, down from 4.5 percent.

The unemployment rate dropped in 69 of 100 counties.

Edgecombe County’s rate dipped to 7.6 percent from 8.4 percent in January. The 0.8 percent change was one of the largest in the state.

Wake (3.5 percent), Durham (3.7 percent) and Cumberland (5.5 percent) reported slight improvements. The jobless rate remained 4.1 percent in Johnston County.

Orange County reported the state’s lowest jobless rate at 3.3 percent. The highest was in Scotland County at 10.5 percent.


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  • GeekQueen Apr 2, 2007

    I'm disappointed that no mention is made of how they calculated these numbers. I live in Durham, and I don't dispute the numbers, actually, because in the Trinity Park area the only people "ambling around" are students and stay-at-home moms. That being said, this article isn't too darn professional.

  • mvnull Mar 31, 2007

    Unemployment rates do not include those who have given up looking for a job. It doesn't include the homeless, the professional crooks, or people who have given up and live off the paycheck of their spouse/partner.

    Mostly it comes from welfare data. The quickest way of lowering the unemployment rates is to reduce the welfare roles. It doesn't actually reduce unemployment, but we no longer count them.

  • Get a clue Mar 31, 2007

    I know what you're saying 2dinks. I agree.

  • 2dinks Mar 31, 2007

    Get a clue you may have a point. There is no way that Durham has a lower un-employment rate than Raleigh. Ever driven through Durham on a week day. There are people ambling around everywhere. Where do they get these statistics?

  • Get a clue Mar 31, 2007

    Collecting welfare checks is not a job. I hope they didn't count that.