RALEIGH (November 2, 2016) — September labor market data show many North Carolina communities are not reaping their share of the benefits as a result of this economic expansion. With the national economy inching toward full employment, it is important to remember that many communities in our state have never truly recovered from the Great Recession.

“We have not created enough jobs to keep up with a growing population, and far too many communities across the state still don’t have as many jobs as they did before the recession,” said Patrick McHugh, Economic Analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, part of the NC Justice Center.

Highlights from this month’s labor market data include:

  • North Carolina employment growth not keeping up with the need for work. North Carolina has more jobs than before the Great Recession, but that growth has not kept up with the state’s swelling population. Getting back to the rate of employment that existed before the Great Recession would require over 400,000 more jobs than currently exist in the state.
  • Majority of North Carolina counties still have not recovered. Even after years of economic recovery, 53 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have fewer jobs today than before the Great Recession. This shows that even with a growing statewide population and strong job growth in some parts of the state, many communities have not gotten back to where they were nearly a decade ago.
  • Some urban areas also struggling. A lack of recovery and robust growth is not limited to rural communities. Three metropolitan areas (Greenville, Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, and Rocky Mount) did not reach 2 percent employment growth over the last year. Since the start of the recession, the number of people looking for work has grown more than the number of people with jobs in 10 of the state’s 15 metropolitan areas.

For a summary of each county’s current economic data, see our Labor Market Watch page. For a summary of how each county’s current economic figures compare to pre-recession levels, see our Recession Watch page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT Patrick McHugh, patrick.mchugh@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2183 ; Julia Hawes, julia@ncjustice.org, 919.863.2406.