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Bull City Job Market Among Nation’s Hottest

Posted March 11, 2008

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— The U.S. Labor Department said 63,000 people lost jobs in February, the heaviest cuts in five years. Durham's job market is soaring, though.

"Durham ranked as the second-best job market in the nation," Jeff Stocks, spokesperson for Manpower in the Triangle, said.

According to a national Manpower employment survey released Tuesday, of the 50 businesses surveyed throughout Durham County, 80 percent said they plan to add workers in the second quarter of the year. The remaining 20 percent expect to hold steady.

"There's still strong demand for IT, technology, finance as well as biotech and scientific," Stocks said.

The survey shows the growth is citywide and countywide. But Manpower acknowledges these results are being driven by Research Triangle Park, which has more than 160 companies and 40,000 employees.

“The Research Triangle area has been much more resilient to the downturn because of the knowledge work force. And again, their skill sets and the technology and knowledge workers are still in demand,” he said.

Durham ranked right behind Gulfport, Miss., as the strongest job market in the country. No other North Carolina area ranked in the Top 10, though on the other end of the spectrum, Greensboro ranked as the nation's third-weakest job market.

The national unemployment rate dipped to 4.8 percent in February from 4.9 percent in January. The state's jobless rate increased 4.9 percent last month after seven straight months at 4.7 percent.

Job seeker Joseph Shipp told WRAL that looking for work these days is not easy.

"Companies are not actually looking for a 57-year-old man looking to start all over again," he said.

According to the survey, covering plans from April to June, 20 percent of Raleigh firms plan to cutback. That is up from a first-quarter figure of 13 percent. In the April-June quarter of 2007, none of the companies surveyed planned to cut payrolls.

The strongest job markets, according to the Manpower survey:

1. Gulfport, Miss.
2. Durham, N.C.
3. San Rafael, Calif.
4. Pocono Region, Pa.
5. Roanoke, Va.
Everett/Lynnwood, Wash.
6. Corpus Christi, Texas
7. Brownsville, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
8. Salem, Ore.
9. Vineland, N.J.
10. Melbourne, Fla.
Fargo, N.D.
Charleston, W.Va.
Ogden, Utah

The weakest job markets, according to the Manpower survey:

1. Stamford/Greenwich, Conn.
2. Schaumburg, Ill.
3. Greensboro, N.C.
4. Livingston County, Mich.
5. Northwest Ohio
Contra Costa County, Calif.
Prince George’s County, Md.
Stuart, Fla.
6. Dover, N.H.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Lake County Area, Ill.
7. Orange County, Calif.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
8. State College, Pa.
Macomb County, Mich.
Dover, Del.
Orem, Utah
9. Cleveland-Lorain/Elyria, Ohio
10. Sherman, Texas
Lapeer County, Mich.
Northwest Indiana
Clifton, N.J.
Broward County, Fla.
Northbrook, Ill.
Racine County, Wis.

4 Comments

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  • dianadarling Mar 13, 2008

    I live in Durham by choice to and commute. The traffic my way is non-existent. And guess what, my kids are in top performing schools and have never been reassigned anywhere. Not all of the Durham schools are in the projects. The ones over near Duke are terrific and filled with Duke and Carolina students volunteering and student teaching.

  • Durham-Raleigh Mar 12, 2008

    awr117: To the contrary, I suspect a lot of the job growth is happening at Duke -- as "Durham" an institution as there is -- and its medical center, along with the VA hospital.

    Durham has a strong base in health care and education, which is much more recession-proof than other industries.

    PS -- I live in Durham by choice, and take offense at the idea it's a "dump." No way you'd get me to live in WAKE County.

  • awr117 Mar 12, 2008

    Durham is a dump. They have RTP to thank for the jobs. How many of those RTP workers live in Durham? Yeah, not many!

  • mrr03 Mar 12, 2008

    Well here we are..Durham..the Bull city..crime everwhere..city going to the dogs, gateway to sin..all this according to the locals..HOWEVER, it's one of the hottest job markets in the USA, why we even beat our wanna be a big city neighbor RALEIGH..I've got a suggestions for Raleighites. .stop the mad dash to build high-rise condo's in what you call a downtown..you're not going to be a big city so move on.