North Carolina job growth

North Carolina added around 60,000 jobs in 2012. Is this a good number, and will it continue into 2013? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden answers.

“I call it a modest number. … If we were clicking on all cylinders, it would be a 100,000 jobs maybe, but again we’re in an economic recovery. But it’s been a slow recovery both nationally and here in North Carolina.

“Now actually, though, if you go back to the bottom of the jobs recession – early 2010 – and calculate the percentage by which jobs have increased, North Carolina’s actually gained jobs at a slightly faster pace than the nation, 3.8 percent to 3.6 percent.

“Now your second question: I do think that job growth will continue in 2013. I think there’s several reasons, particularly, for our state that that will take place. One, we have a very competitive workforce on both pay and productivity. Number two, we are in a section of the country – the southeast – that has been growing, so businesses that come here will have access to a growing base for selling their products and services. …

“Thirdly, companies are actually revisiting the idea of whether to locate in a foreign country to produce their products is a good thing. We’re seeing many examples of companies coming back to the U.S. and North Carolina. So I’m cautiously optimistic that that 60,000 job level that we had in 2012 is going to be exceeded in 2013.”


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