MEDIA RELEASE: September unemployment numbers offer good news for most NC metro areas

Fayetteville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem still losing jobs

RALEIGH (November 2, 2012) – Today’s jobs report from the Employment Security Division shows positive momentum in job creation for most of North Carolina’s metro areas. At the same time, however, a handful of metros are lagging behind the rest of the state.

The unemployment has dropped in all 100 counties and all 14 metro areas since September 2011, today’s report shows. Despite this good news, three metros are moving in the wrong direction and experienced job losses over the lay year—Fayetteville (which saw a net decrease of 1,000 jobs, or 0.8%) Wilmington (which saw 3,800 in net job losses, a 2.7% drop), and Winston-Salem (which lost 2,800 jobs, a 1.3% decrease).

Unfortunately, these metros may be struggling even more than these the unemployment rates suggest, due to the long-term trends in their labor force—the pool of workers who are either employed or looking for work. In Fayetteville, the labor force remained stagnant over the last year in the face of large-scale job losses in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities.

Even more troubling, the labor force actually shrank in Wilmington (a 2.2% drop) and Winston-Salem (a 0.7% drop), suggesting that too many unemployed workers are giving up on finding work and dropping out the workforce altogether.

“While the labor market is clearly experiencing some early-fall growth, the longer-term concern for North Carolina is the wide disparities in job growth across the state,” said Allan Freyer, Policy Analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. “The dramatic drops in the labor force in in Winston-Salem and Wilmington are of special concern.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Allan Freyer, Public Policy Analyst, Budget & Tax Center,, 919.856.2151; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications,, 503.551.3615 (cell).