Last week the North Carolina Department of Commerce released October unemployment figures. The national seasonally adjusted rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s comparable October unemployment rate dropped 2 tenths of a percent from 3.8 percent in September to the current 3.6 percent.
That’s good news. It might also explain why it’s difficult to find local media outlets that ran stories on the topic. Feel good stories don’t generate clicks.
Still there are a few facts worth noting.
- November marks the seventh straight month the unemployment rate has declined in North Carolina.
- More than 4.8 million North Carolinians are working.
- North Carolina’s unemployment rate, 3.6 percent, ranks 22nd best among the fifty states and District of Columbia.
- Since October 2017, 103,500 new non-farm jobs have been created.
- Unemployment continues to decline. Over 5,900 individuals left the unemployment rolls in the past month. The total number of unemployed in North Carolina is 181,435, a decline of 39,887 over the past year.
- In the past year, North Carolina’s unemployment rate has declined nine-tenths of a percent from 4.5 to 3.6 percent. During the same time frame, the national unemployment rate declined 4 tenths of a percentage point, falling from 4.1 to 3.7 percent.
- Areas that experienced the biggest gains in employment over the past year: Professional and Business Services (29.4%), Trade Transportation and Utilities (19.7%) and Education and Health Services (13.9 percent)
- Over the month, average hourly earnings fell by $0.35 to $25.20, as average weekly earnings fell $3.22 to $871.92. Over the year however, average hourly earnings grew by $0.73 and average weekly earnings increased by $17.92.
This is good news. It didn’t happen overnight either. State spending had to be controlled and tax policy needed to an overhaul. We’re now enjoying the fruits of those changes: record employment and historically low levels of unemployment, restoration of our state’s fiscal health and four consecutive years of budget surpluses of more than $400 million.
Even though you may not see this story making headlines in mainstream outlets, the latest decrease in unemployment numbers signifies an increase in economic stability for individuals and families. And that’s a story worth telling.