No change in NC unemployment rate; job picture mixed

Posted May 20, 2011 10:24 a.m. EDT
Updated May 20, 2011 3:57 p.m. EDT


— North Carolina’s unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent for the second consecutive month in April, the state Employment Security Commission reported Friday.

While the jobless rate has declined 1.4 percentage points from a year ago, the number of people working is up only slightly.

There were 2,900 non-farm jobs added over the month, based on a survey of employers. The trade, transportation and utilities sector alone added 2,700 jobs, but those were offset by a 2,300 drop in government jobs.

Unemployment a year ago stood at 11.1 percent. Still, only a marginal number of people are working now compared to a year ago.

The size of the state’s labor force has plunged by 67,963 over the past year. That number includes people who are working or seeking work or receiving unemployment benefits.

The number of employed people has increased by 2,508 over the past year, an increase of 0.1 percent.

In the manufacturing sector, the average hours worked increased to 41.2 hours from 40.4 hours a year ago. However, the average hourly wage declined to $15.81 from $16.03.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell last month in more than three-quarters of nation's states, evidence that companies are feeling more confident in the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate dropped in 39 states in April. That's an improvement from March when 34 states had reported decreases. The rate rose in three states and the District of Columbia. It was unchanged in eight states.

Employers added workers in 42 states. Only eight states and the District of Columbia lost jobs last month.

Nationally, businesses have added more than 250,000 jobs per month, on average, in the past three months. It's the fastest hiring spree in five years. The unemployment rate has dropped nearly a full percentage point since November. Still, it remains very high at 9 percent.