Local News

North Carolina Jobless Rate Dips to 4.7 Percent

Posted November 17, 2006 2:17 a.m. EST

— North Carolina’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent in October, and that means good news for the upcoming holiday season, said Mike Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University.

“The most important factor in holiday spending is a member of a household having a job, and we have 130,000 more people working now than a year ago,” Walden said. “That means consumers have more buying power.”

The unemployment rate, which dropped from 4.9 percent, also means good news for job seekers, Walden said.

“Temporary help will be a little harder to find in this job market. It’s a little tighter,” he explained. “That puts job seekers in the driver’s seat for better wages and better working conditions.”

North Carolina’s jobless rate dipped for the first time since April, when it matched the yearlong low of 4.3 percent set in January. The national unemployment rate for October dipped to 4.4 percent from 4.6 percent. That’s the lowest it has been all year.

The number of people working in North Carolina has increased each of the past four months, according to the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina. In October, the seasonally adjusted employment number jumped 17,273 to 4.266.502. Seasonally adjusted unemployment dropped 7,737 to 209,757.

The state has added 128,824 jobs since October of 2005 when the unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent. North Carolina employment total remains at an all-time high, noted ESC Chairman Harry Payne, Jr.

“Employment has increased for the fourth consecutive month,” he said. “This is obviously a good trend as we enter the holiday shopping season.”

Seasonally adjusted non-farm industry jobs decreased by 9,100, however.

Despite the decrease in payroll jobs, Walden said the job report is “very positive. This is exactly the kind of news we want to see.”

The number of manufacturing jobs decreased 12.8 percent in October when compared to one year ago. However, the other major categories tracked by the ESC all increased, led by education and health services (14.5 percent), government (12.9 percent), leisure and hospitality (11.5 percent), construction (10.4 percent), professional and business services (8.9 percent), financial activities (7.4 percent), other services (4.7 percent), trade, transportation and utilities (4.1 percent) and information (0.5 percent).