Friday, March 30, 2012

Underwhelming job growth in North Carolina

After a better than expected state jobs report for January, job growth for North Carolina slowed again in February. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that North Carolina added only 8,300 non-farm jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis in February. Most of the added jobs (5,600) were state and local government jobs. For all practical purposes, private job growth stalled.

February's state jobs growth was substantially worse than January's figure of 21,900 jobs added on a seasonally-adjusted basis. The unusually good job-growth figure for January likely reflects the very mild weather that the state has enjoyed (we may need to rethink that whole global warming thing). However, the figure was better December's small job loss.

On a year-over-year basis, the BLS reports that North Carolina has added 47,000 non-farm jobs since last February. Although that figure may seem impressive, it only represents an increase of 1.2 percent. Over the same period, national job growth has been 1.5 percent.

One "bright" spot in the employment report was that North Carolina's unemployment rate dropped back into the single digits at 9.9 percent. However, that rate is still substantially higher than the national rate of 8.3 percent. Only three other states--California, Nevada, and Rhode Island--currently have worse unemployment rates than North Carolina.