RALEIGH (January 3, 2013) – Today’s jobs report from the Employment Security Division shows positive momentum in job creation for most of North Carolina’s metro areas. At the same time, however, a handful of metros are lagging behind the rest of the state.
The unemployment has dropped in all 95 counties and all 14 metro areas since November 2011. Despite this good news, three metros are noticeably lagging behind the rest of the state in terms of job creation over the last year. While the state saw an average 3% job growth since November 2011, Fayetteville and Wilmington both saw just a 0.2 % increase in employment, and Winston-Salem fell even further behind, experiencing 0.7% drop employment (for a total loss of 1,400 jobs) over the same period.
Unfortunately, these metros may be struggling even more than these the unemployment rates suggest, due to the long-term trends in their labor force—the pool of workers who are either employed or looking for work. In all three metros, the labor force grew at a significantly slower pace than the 1.7% statewide average.
In Fayetteville, the labor force grew by just 1.2%, and even more troublingly, the labor essentially remained stagnant in Wilmington (which grew by just 0.4%) and Winston-Salem (which grew by just 0.1% since 2011, suggesting that too many unemployed workers are giving up on finding work and dropping out the workforce altogether.
“While the labor market is clearly continuing to improve, the longer-term concern for North Carolina is the wide disparities in job growth across the state,” said Allan Freyer, Policy Analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. “The ongoing stagnation in the labor force in Winston-Salem and Wilmington are of special concern.”