Prosperity Watch (Issue 73, No. 2): A slow recovery leaves swaths of NC behind

May 8, 2017

Local labor market data continues to reveal a trend where urban counties lead the state in job growth, while the rest of the state lags behind. Presently, while only 50 counties have fewer jobs than in 2007, before the Great Recession (down from previous months), it is worth noting the concentration of counties that are being left behind. The map below reveals groups of counties in the southeastern and northeastern parts of the state as well as a corridor on the Virginia border.

Along the Virginia border, Ashe, Alleghany, Surry, Yadkin Stokes, Rockingham and Caswell counties lost nearly 4 percent of their jobs since 2007, before the Great Recession. Collectively 5,225 jobs were lost from the 141,720 pre-recession totals.

Southeastern NC counties lost almost 7 percent of jobs since 2007, before the Great Recession. Cumberland, Sampson, Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, Scotland and Richmond counties have lost 19,124 jobs since before the recession. That is 6.8 percent loss of the total 278,274 Sandhills jobs held in 2007, a devastating blow to a region once dominated by tobacco and cotton agriculture.

Northeastern and Coastal NC counties lost 7 percent of their jobs since 2007, before the Great Recession. Twenty-two counties in the Northeastern and Coastal region of the state have lost 25,948 jobs since 2007. This represents a decline of 7.4 percent of the total 349,186 jobs this region had before the recession.

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