MEDIA RELEASE: Uneven job growth, unemployment up across North Carolina counties

Improvement concentrated in Triangle, the Triad, and Charlotte

RALEIGH (July 27, 2012) – North Carolina’s job creation continued to stumble across many of the state’s counties last month, according to newly released data from the Division of Employment Security. Most of the improvement in the state’s jobs picture in the two years since the end of the Great Recession has been concentrated along the I-95 corridor and especially in the most populous metro areas in the Triangle, the Triad, and Charlotte.

Last month, 84 counties saw their unemployment rates rise along with the unadjusted state average, which climbed from 9.4% to 9.9% in June. While this is certainly troubling, some of this may be due to seasonal fluctuations in hiring patterns—which local-level data does not account for—and the long-term picture is somewhat better: 91 counties saw their unemployment rates fall over the year.

Nonetheless, long-term gains since the end of the recession have largely benefitted only a few areas—88% of the 1.5 million jobs created in North Carolina since June 2009 were generated in the state’s metro areas. Even more troubling, 83% of the jobs created in the metro areas were concentrated in just three regions—Charlotte (38% of jobs created in the state’s metro areas), the Research Triangle (28% of metro jobs), and the Piedmont Triad (17% of metro jobs.) Taken together, the regions outside the I-95 corridor experienced only 7% of the state’s metro are job growth, and only 18% of the jobs created across the entire state, suggesting that the rest of the state is lagging behind.

“While our short-term labor market trends are certainly troubling, 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. “Since the end of the Great Recession three years ago, the Triangle, Triad, and Charlotte have experienced significantly better job growth than the rest of the state. Perhaps even more importantly, the metros in these three regions alone account for 83% of the state’s metro-area job growth.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Allan Freyer, Policy Analyst,, 919.865.2151; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications,, 503.551.3615 (cell).