State poised for healthy jobs growth

North Carolina is expected to add nearly 700,000 jobs by 2014, according to new occupational projections from the state’s Employment Security Commission. The news comes on the heels of two recent announcements of local job expansion in the Asheville area and news that the state’s unemployment rate is a healthy 4.6 percent.

“With record labor force figures and employment increases over the last few months — along with a Forbes.com study touting the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area as the number one place in the country for getting a job — North Carolina’s economic future resonates strength and continued growth,” said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. in a press release.

North Carolina is predicted to outperform the nation as well, the ESC reports. The number of individuals employed in the state is expected to increased from 4.1 million to 4.8 million — a growth of nearly 17 percent. In comparison, United States’ employment is projected to increase 13 percent from 145.6 million workers to 164.5 million during the same period.

Of the 22 major occupational groups in North Carolina, 21 are expected to increase over the 10-year period, with the top three growth groups in Healthcare Support; Healthcare Practitioners & Technicians; and, Education, Training & Library. The growth in healthcare — Asheville’s largest employment sector — will be driven, in part, by both an aging and growing population and longer life expectancies.

Production Workers is the only major occupational group expected to decline in North Carolina. Textile-related production occupations are fueling the decline. However, some occupations within this group — such as food-related production occupations — are expected to increase.

To read the state’s jobs forecast report and a slew of other information on employment trends here and throughout the state, go to the ESC website.

— Hal L. Millard, staff writer

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