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Bull City Job Market Among Nation’s Hottest

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, in spite of higher unemployment numbers elsewhere.

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DURHAM, N.C. — 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.



Bruce Mildwurf, Reporter
Minnie Bridgers, Web Editor

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