by Paige Terryberry
Senior Analyst for Fiscal Policy, John Locke Foundation
In September, North Carolina’s unemployment rate was 4.2%, down from 4.3% in August, according to the new release from the North Carolina Department of Commerce. This continued the steady downward trend in unemployment revealing North Carolinians’ ability to find jobs. North Carolina’s rate remains well below the national average rate, which is now 4.8%.
However, the decrease in unemployment in September was smaller than the months prior, indicating a deceleration in recovery in August and September.
Labor force participation showed workers returning to the job market – a positive sign for North Carolina’s economy. In September, the private sector added more than 8,000 jobs, a 0.2% increase while Government lost 4,400 jobs, a decrease of 0.6%. This is consistent with the annual trend. Since 2020, the private sector added nearly 150,000 jobs while government jobs have decreased by more than 6,000. These rates are seasonally adjusted to remove the influences of predictable patterns: school schedules, major holidays, weather, etc.
Not surprisingly, Leisure & Hospitality Services have reported the largest jobs increase over the past year. Government has reported the largest job losses followed by Education and Health Services.
North Carolina’s economy continues to remain strong and above the national average in terms of unemployment. The state, however, faces challenges as it continues to recover. The decrease in unemployment this month was the smallest drop this year. We are not back to pre-pandemic levels of labor force participation or unemployment and movement at the state and national levels threaten to further discourage work.
Promising tax cuts in the still-under-debate budget would bring much-needed relief to North Carolina’s middle-class families and continue to improve upon the past decade of tax reforms that have bolstered North Carolina into the top ten most business-friendly tax climates.