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Assessing North Carolina’s Latest Employment Data

North Carolina employers continue to cite workforce as their number one challenge, as they look to grow and recruit qualified, skilled employees. It’s important to keep an eye on employment data to provide historical insights and benchmark against competing states.

In this month’s Foundation Forecast, Dan Gerlach, economic advisor to the NC Chamber Foundation, looks at the latest employment data compared to updated numbers from 2023, which shows overall job growth but mixed results compared to neighboring states.

Another key takeaway is the employment increase in the education and health sector. Continued growth in health care workforce is vital to the wellbeing of our communities, given the significant shortages in this field. The NC Chamber Foundation is actively engaged in this workforce development effort through its NC Health Talent Alliance partnership, which you can read more about here.


 

First, the revisions of January 2023 and February 2023 resulted in household employment estimates in North Carolina increasing by 31,000 and 42,000 respectively – an increase of up to 0.8%, a substantial upward revision. It matters in that the February 2024 data, which was released not long ago, is now compared to the revised 2023 data. Payroll data, which is usually more accurate, also was revised upward 0.5% both months.i


 

Finally, the North Carolina economy did not grow equally. Certain sectors, including education and health services and leisure and hospitality, contributed a majority of the growth. These two sectors account for about one in five jobs overall.

This table also shows the strength of the service sector, even in a state with a historic and ongoing strength in manufacturing. Note that the education and health sector is the fastest growing, demonstrating that your NC Chamber Foundation is focusing its efforts in areas that are measurably improving and enhancing the quality of life for all North Carolinians.


iNC Department of Commerce monthly press releases from January 2023, February 2023, January 2024, and February 2024 are sources of this data.
iiUS Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Employment and Unemployment – February 2024, released March 22, 2024.
iiiNorth Carolina Department of Commerce, North Carolina’s February Employment Figures Released, March 22, 2024.

  • May 23, 2024