MEDIA RELEASE: Drop in metro unemployment rate over last year driven by job growth in lowest wage industries

RALEIGH (August 28, 2013) — Although unemployment has dropped in all 14 of North Carolina’s metro areas over the last year, most of this job growth has occurred in the lowest wage sector—Leisure & Hospitality. Unfortunately, this industry pays $8.30 an hour, more than $12 below the statewide average—suggesting that most metros are seeing the biggest growth opportunities in ultra-low wage jobs, according to today's jobs report.

Over the last year, Leisure & Hospitality was either the fastest or second fastest growing industry in 10 metro areas. These metros include:

  • Asheville—5.6% growth
  • Burlington—4.3% growth
  • Charlotte—8.3% growth
  • Durham—12.4% growth
  • Greensboro—10.5%
  • Greenville—6.0%
  • Hickory—4.3%
  • Rocky Mount—7.4%
  • Wilmington—8.4%
  • Winston-Salem—9.4%

“Today’s jobs report makes it clear that the majority of all job creation is occurring in industries that don’t pay a living wage,” said Allan Freyer, policy analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center.  “It’s hard to see how our metro areas can continue to see economic improvement without significant income growth to support consumer spending at local businesses.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Allan Freyer,, 919.856.2151; Jeff Shaw,, 503.551.3615 (cell).