BTC BRIEF: The Greater the Fall, The Tougher the Climb -- North Carolina Struggles to Replace Jobs Lost to Great Recession

By Allan Freyer
Public Policy Analyst, Budget & Tax Center
May 2012


  • During the Great Recession, North Carolina’s employment rate fell faster and farther than in any recession in the last 30 years. As a result, the state’s labor market has taken significantly longer to recover, leaving larger numbers of workers unemployed for longer periods of time than in the past.
  • By this same point in previous recoveries, the state’s job losses had been completely replaced, while in the current recovery, North Carolina still faces a jobs deficit of 532,500 and a higher unemployment rate (9.4%) than the nation as a whole (8.1%).
  • In the nation as a whole, there are 2.9 workers for every single open job, and given the extent to which North Carolina is lagging behind the national average, it is likely that the state’s workers face even longer odds in finding scarce job openings.
  • North Carolina’s lagging recovery is largely the result of a pre‐recession labor force concentrated in those sectors that experienced the steepest job losses during the recession.

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