SMITHFIELD – Johnston County has launched a new digital tool that aims to connect the region’s commuting workforce to positions based a bit closer to home.
The website, JoCoCareers.org, launched this month, and according to a statement from Johnston County Economic Development, the job portal “seeks to align new jobs and workers, and reduce the high number of county residents who commute to neighboring towns and cities.”
According to recent jobs data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the unemployment rate in the county was 2.9%, but other data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce showed that some 51.5% of the region’s local workforce, or 47,744 people, were commuting outside of the county for their jobs.
“County leaders hope the new resource also will alleviate workforce shortages that Johnston County businesses, like those across the state and nation, currently face as the economy sorts out post-pandemic opportunities and challenges,” the statement reads.
“Ours is a county in rapid transition,” said Chris Johnston, director of the Johnston County Office of Economic Development, in the statement. “We are a popular destination for new residents and home to an expanding base of industries and new jobs. But these two very positive trends are not always in alignment.”
According to the statement, the portal provides employers and job seekers information necessary to connect workers to open roles, and ” is designed to engage out-commuting workers residing in Johnston County as well as those across the Research Triangle Region who may be seeking new and better jobs.”
Johnson noted that workers living in Johnston County commute an average of 30 minutes to their workplace. The U.S. Census Bureau released data showing that Johnston County’s population surged over the prior decade from about 169,000 to 216,000 residents – a nearly 28 percent rate that placed the county in the #1 position among North Carolina’s 100 counties for baseline growth.
According to Johnson, Amazon, Berry Global, Bartlett Milling and AdvanceTEC all added or expanded operations in the county in 2021, and the county’s workforce increased by 5.4%. Not only have jobs grown, but population has increased as well, with U.S. Census Bureau data showing a change in the prior decade from about 169,000 to 216,000 residents. According to the statement, that is “a nearly 28 percent rate that placed the county in the #1 position among North Carolina’s 100 counties for baseline growth.”