News: CJ Exclusives

N.C. Unemployment Rate Falls 0.1 Percent in December

But number of employed and labor force dropped

North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points in December, even as the number of jobs fell from November and the labor force shrank, the state’s Division of Employment Security reported (PDF download). The state’s 9.9 percent seasonally adjusted rate is 1.4 points higher than the national rate.

Using not seasonally adjusted or unadjusted numbers, the number of employed North Carolinians fell by 32,021, the number of unemployed rose by 12,412, and the labor force dropped by 19,609. In unadjusted terms, the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points, from 9.5 percent in November to 9.8 percent in December.

The seasonal adjustment factor is an estimate that attempts to remove seasonal effects from statistical reports, such as the beginning and end of the school year or the holiday shopping season. The not seasonally adjusted or unadjusted measure captures real-time estimates of the employment situation and may offer a better view of the current environment.

Total private jobs also fell by 8,600 in December and government jobs went down by 3,800 (unadjusted).

Overall, government employment in unadjusted terms has risen by 300 jobs since January 2011 (from 701,200 to 701,500). State government educational services added 3,000 jobs while local government educational services lost 5,100.

In unadjusted terms, the state has lost 269,200 jobs since the recession began in December 2007.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics will issue its January employment report at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3.

Rick Henderson is managing editor of Carolina Journal.