Local News

State's Outlook On Jobs Changing: More Positions Becoming Available

Posted June 3, 2004 5:55 a.m. EDT

— The state's outlook on jobs is changing. For the last two years, good-paying, skilled jobs were few and far between. Currently, 220,000 people are looking for work in North Carolina, but overall, unemployment is down in North Carolina. In fact, North Carolina gained more than 40,000 jobs in the last year and the economy is expected to continue growing.

During the dot-com bust, Web Sourced Inc. was down to 20 employees. But in the last year, the Internet marketing company, based in Morrisville, has been on a hiring frenzy. Web Sourced. now has more than 100 workers.

"Right now, we are growing because the economy is picking up heavily. People are looking at their marketing and starting to focus on the Internet instead of on other forms of marketing," said Pat Martin, of Web Sourced.

Mike Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, said a lot of new positions, including accountants, engineers and computer programmers, are actually in the business service sector.

"We are seeing a range of jobs being created, a range of pay, plenty of high-paying jobs," he said.

On Thursday, Gov. Mike Easley announced Harris Microwave Communications Division is moving its headquarters from Silicon Valley, in California, to Durham. The largest supplier of microwave systems in North America plans to hire 258 new workers. The average salary of those workers is expected to be $61,000.

"These are jobs that require knowledge, talent and skill -- jobs that will stay here and can't be done in other places where the knowledge and talents do not exist," Easley said.

Walden said he believes the state's biggest challenge now is to train people who have lost manufacturing jobs so they qualify for the new high-paying ones.

Harris Microwave chose North Carolina over Florida and Texas in large part because of a state investment grant. Over 10 years, the deal is expected to pump more than $3.5 billion into the state.