Trends in the state labor market

The last job report for North Carolina was challenging. The state lost more than 20,000 jobs, and cuts were made in both the private and public sectors. The state unemployment rate climbed to 10.5 percent. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains what’s going on.

“This reflects some national trends and state trends. It’s clear that the national economy slowed down at the end of the summer because of worries over Europe. The Federal Reserve ended their latest round of money printing, and the housing market is still very challenged and very sluggish.

“Now in terms of North Carolina, usually we move faster in either direction. That is to say, if you look for example at 2010, which was a growth year for both the nation and North Carolina, we actually grew faster in terms of our broadest measure of growth. But unfortunately … this greater swing that we’ve seen in North Carolina happens on the downside. So when the nation slows down, we tend to slow down more. So I think that’s fundamentally what was going on in North Carolina and why some of our numbers have not looked very good in the last couple of months.

“I do think … there will be modest improvement in the months ahead. I do think we’ll see some job creation. But overall it’s still going to be very slow — very hard going. Clearly the economy is not totally back on its feet.”

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