Prosperity Watch (Issue 80, No. 3): N.C. remains well below pre-recession employment levels

Nov. 28, 2017

In spite of the low headline unemployment rate, the job count in North Carolina remains well shy of where we would need to be to match the pre-recession level of employment. Had North Carolina fully recovered, there would be roughly 377,000 more jobs than exist in the state today.

When the Great Recession began in December 2007, North Carolina had nearly 4.2 million jobs. But then the state experienced 31 months of employment decline and a weak recovery. All the while, the population of North Carolina continued a decades-long pattern of growth, which meant that more people were chasing the fewer available jobs. After losing roughly 325,000 jobs during the worst of the recession, North Carolina has not added enough jobs to make up for lost ground and expand employment to match our growing state population.

If we adjust for population growth since 2007, North Carolina would need 4.8 million jobs to match the level of employment that existed before the recession took hold. Instead, North Carolina reported just over 4.4 million jobs in October, leaving a gap of over 377,000 jobs.

These data provide clear evidence that many North Carolinians continue to face barriers to finding employment and sharing in prosperity.

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