Business

NC's unemployment rate drops as employers add jobs

Posted January 28, 2014 10:28 a.m. EST
Updated January 28, 2014 11:50 a.m. EST

Unemployment

— North Carolina's unemployment rate dipped to 6.9 percent in December as employers in the state added more than 11,000 jobs, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Commerce. 

The state unemployment rate in November was 7.4 percent. The national unemployment rate in December was 6.7 percent. 

Private-sector jobs saw the biggest jump in December, as employers added better than 10,600 positions. Only construction and professional and business services industries saw job cuts.

The state's labor force shrank in December, falling 1,880, to 4,656,304. The number of people unemployed also fell during the month, down 21,097, to 322.689, officials said. 

About 4,333,615 were listed as employed in December, up nearly 20,000 since November 2013. 

Gov. Pat McCrory released a statement Tuesday following the release of December's jobs data, calling it "great news" for North Carolina.

"We continue to see that our pro-growth and pro-jobs policies enacted over the last year are having a positive impact and getting people into jobs," he said. "While this is welcome news, we will remain focused on policies that will encourage job growth – not just for the short-term, but for the long-term to sustain the progress we have made."

House speaker Thom Tillis also released a statement Tuesday morning, saying that the falling unemployment rate is more evidence that "our policies are helping North Carolinians get back to work."

"Federal jobs data shows that North Carolina's unemployment rate dropped further in one year than any other state in the nation," Tillis said. "We will continue to implement policies that will enable our citizens to get back to work."

North Carolina's unemployment rate has gone down steadily in the last year, falling from a high of 9.5 percent in January 2013.

Economists say the fast drop in the unemployment rate could be because so many people have become discouraged, are giving up on finding a job and are no longer being counted.

The state's population of working-age adults who are looking for jobs shrank by 111,000 in 2013.