NC jobless rate drops again – economist sees labor market as ‘positive’

Millions of Americans still out of work despite recent improvements in labor markets

RALEIGH – North Carolina’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 4.4% in July 2021, a decrease of 0.2% from June’s revised rate, and half of what it was in July 2020, when North Carolina’s unemployment rate was 8.8%, according to the latest data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

“The July labor market report for North Carolina was positive,” said Dr. Mike Walden, an economist and contributor to WRAL TechWire.  “Job gains were recorded for both the household and establishment (business) surveys, and the unemployment rate dropped.”

Total nonfarm employment, seasonally-adjusted, is now 4,580,800, according to a statement issued by the Department of Commerce, following an increase of 75,600 jobs during the month.

Data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce shows that seasonally adjusted total nonfarm industry employment, now 4,580,800, increased 1.7% since June 2021, or 75,600 jobs, and grew by 270,200 jobs, or 6.3% since July 2020. Image: NC Dept. of Commerce.


But there are some inconsistencies in the surveys, said Walden, adding that this isn’t atypical in the release of employment data.

“Job gains were also made in the majority of sectors, with the biggest jump in government,” said Walden.  “Most of which is likely teachers returning to school prior to the start of classes.”

In the government services industry, the data shows that 53,800 jobs were added.  In the professional and business services category,  10,700 jobs were added in the month.

“There are parts of the report which could be read as worrisome, and raise the question of whether the [Delta variant] slowed the state economy, particularly at the end of July,” noted Walden.

Weekly wages also increased, the Department of Commerce found, with average weekly earnings increasing by $5.51 to $965.31.  For the prior year, the data found that average weekly earnings have increased by $50.49.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.4%, which decreased from 5.9% in June.





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Kassie Hoffman
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