Unemployment, labor force dips
North Carolina’s unemployment rate continued its decline in April, according to figures released today, falling 0.1 percentage points from the prior month to 6.2%. The U.S. rate fell from 6.7% to 6.3%.
Though that’s 2.2 percentage points less than the same time last year, at least one North Carolina observer is less than impressed.
“The April employment report is another entry in the series of mixed reports recorded over the last few months,” said John Quinterno, a principal with Chapel Hill-based South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy, in a statement. “In April, North Carolina experienced a modest gain in the total number of payroll jobs in the state for the second month in a row. Yet compared to [a] year earlier, a smaller share of the state’s working-age population was participating in the labor force.”
In April 2013, there were 4,711,403 Tar Heel in the labor force. That fell by nearly 1% compared with the year before. The number of employed increased 1.6% to 4,387,118. The labor force did increase over March — by about 10,000.
“While positive, the pace of payroll growth in North Carolina has not quickened over the past year,” Quinterno says. “Between April 2013 and April 2014, the total number of payroll jobs in North Carolina grew by 1.4 percent, a rate similar to those seen in prior years. Between April 2012 and April 2013, the total of number payroll jobs in North Carolina rose by 1.7 percent, while between April 2011 and April 2012, the rate of growth also was 1.7 percent. From April 2010 to April 2011, the rate of growth was 1.4 percent. No matter how one cuts the data, North Carolina has experienced the same basic slow rate of job growth for the last four years.”