MEDIA RELEASE: Weak job growth slows down recovery across many North Carolina metros

RALEIGH (July 1, 2014) — Despite falling unemployment rates, most of North Carolina’s metro areas are not creating enough jobs to fully recover any time soon from the job losses of the Great Recession, according to new jobless numbers released by the Division of Employment Security this morning.  Nine out of the state’s 14 metro areas have yet to reclaim the jobs lost during the recession, and it will take three of them more than a decade to create enough jobs to return to pre-recession levels at the current rate of employment growth.

May’s local jobs report makes it clear that the current economic recovery is concentrated in just a handful of metros, bypassing much of the rest of the state. Five years into the current recovery, only a handful of metros are creating jobs fast enough to completely replace to the jobs they lost during the Great Recession,” said Allan Freyer, Public Policy Analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “It will take three of the state’s metros more than a decade to return to pre-recession employment levels at the rate of job creation they’ve achieved over the past year. As long as job creation remains weak, we can expect the labor force to continue to decline as workers give up on finding work.”

Examples include:

  • Asheville saw the number of jobs grow by 2,400 since May 2013, and at this rate of job creation, it will take the metro until the end of 2014 to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Burlington saw the number of jobs grow by just 100 since May 2013, and at this rate of job creation, it will take the metro at least 36 years to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Charlotte-Gastonia created 21,400 jobs over the past year and is one of the few metro areas in the state that has created enough jobs to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Durham-Chapel Hill created 5,900 jobs over the past year and is one of the few metro areas in the state that has created enough jobs to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Fayetteville actually lost 600 net jobs over  the last year, and until the metro experiences positive job creation, it will be impossible to replace the remaining 800 jobs needed to return to pre-recession employment levels.
  • Goldsboro saw the number of jobs grow by just 700 since May 2013, and at this rate of job creation, it will take the metro more than 2 years to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Greensboro-High Point saw the number of jobs grow by just 4,600 since May 2013, and at this rate of job creation, it will take the metro another 5 years to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Greenville saw the number of jobs grow by 1,300 since May 2013, and at this rate of job creation, it will take the metro until the end of 2014 to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton saw the number of jobs grow by just 1,000 since May 2013, and at this rate of job creation, it will take the metro 16 years to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Jacksonville actually lost 100 net jobs over the last year. Fortunately, the metro has already replaced all of the jobs lost during the recession, although another year of job losses may reverse these gains.
  • Raleigh-Cary created 21,400 jobs over the past year and is one of the few metro areas in the state that has created enough jobs to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Rocky Mount saw the number of jobs grow by just 200 since May 2013, and at this rate of job creation, it will take the metro almost half a century (46 years) to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Wilmington saw the number of jobs grow by 4,300 since May 2013, and is one of the few metro areas in the state that has created enough jobs to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.
  • Winston-Salem saw the number of jobs grow by just 3,700 since May 2013, and at this rate of job creation, it will take the metro another 2 years to reclaim all the jobs lost during the recession.

The data released by the Division of Employment Security is subject to revision each year and should be interpreted with great caution.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Allan Freyer, allan@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2151; Jeff Shaw, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).

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