RALEIGH (March 27, 2020) — North Carolina labor market data for January was updated today, but it doesn’t give us a sense of what’s going on right now.

“The COVID-19 outbreak is showing how fragile our economy already was, how incomplete the recovery from the Great Recession proved to be, and how little financial cushion many North Carolina families have to fall back on.” said Patrick McHugh, Senior Economic Analyst with the NC Budget & Tax Center. “An unprecedented number of North Carolinians have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks, with over 29,000 submitting claims on March 25 alone. We’re still in the early phases of this crisis, so without sustained action at both the state and federal levels families across this state are going to be in real trouble.”

Economic challenges facing North Carolina include:

      • Unprecedented spike in unemployment claims: Between March 16 and March 26, more than 195,000 North Carolinians filed for unemployment insurance, a larger spike in new unemployment claims than any two-week period on record, according to data from the N.C. Division of Employment Security on daily UI claims ahead of that data.
      • North Carolina never recovered to pre-recession levels of employment: Before the Great Recession, over 62 percent of North Carolinians were employed, a level that was never reached again in the following twelve-plus years.
      • Many North Carolina families have little or no financial cushion: According to the most recent data available, 42 percent of North Carolina households could not subsist at the poverty line for three months without income.

For charts showing the most recent data, visit the Budget & Tax Center’s Labor Market page at NCJustice.org/labormarket.

For more context on the economic choices facing North Carolina, check out the Budget & Tax Center’s Prosperity Watch report.

The Budget and Tax Center conducts non-partisan analysis of state budget and tax policy and monitors economic conditions in the state. We produce timely and accessible research that contributes to policy discussions and public debate, with the goal of building a broader understanding of the role of policy in supporting economic opportunity for all.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT Patrick McHugh, Budget & Tax Center Senior Economic Analyst, at Patrick.McHugh@ncjustice.org or 919-856-2183; or Mel Umbarger, Senior Communications Specialist, at mel@ncjustice.org.