News: CJ Exclusives

State Unemployment Rate Drops Due to Drop in Labor Force

Numbers indicate fewer people looking for work

North Carolina’s unemployment rate in April fell 0.3 percentage points, due in large part to a reduction in the number of residents who were seeking jobs. The labor force fell by slightly more than 11,000 seasonally adjusted. In not seasonally adjusted terms, the labor force shrank by a little more than 10,000.

The reduction in North Carolina’s labor force mirrored a nationwide drop. From March to April, the labor force fell nationally by 342,000 seasonally adjusted, 411,000 not seasonally adjusted. A person is reported as leaving the labor force when he is unemployed and has stopped looking for work.

The job numbers (PDF download) were reported Friday morning by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the state Department of Commerce.

Though the unemployment rate dropped, in seasonally adjusted terms the state lost 1,300 jobs in April — 1,200 of them in the private sector.

Even with the decline, as in March, North Carolina’s rate was lower than that in only four states and the District of Columbia.

In unadjusted terms, the state added 20,000 jobs in April; over the past year, the number of jobs statewide has risen by 26,600. The vast majority of those gains have been in the private sector, which has accounted for 25,900 of the jobs added since April 2011.

Government jobs (unadjusted) have gone up by 700 over the past year, with the federal government and local government each adding 600 jobs and state government losing 500.

Educational services have shown declines, however. State government (primarily public universities and community colleges) has lost 1,400 jobs since April 2011; local governments (PreK-12) have lost 4,100 jobs over that period.

Rick Henderson is managing editor of Carolina Journal.