Latest market data shows unemployment rate remains aboe pre-recession levels in 77 counties

RALEIGH (April 29, 2015) — The economic reality for North Carolinians varies greatly depending on where one lives and works, according to the latest labor market data on conditions in the the state’s metro areas and counties. Despite year over year improvements in the unemployment rate in nearly all counties (99 out of 100 counties saw declines), the unemployment rate remains elevated above pre-recession levels in 77 counties.

“The unevenness in the recovery from the Great Recession is not just about urban and rural areas but about regions and neighborhoods,” said Alexandra Sirota, Director of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “In most North Carolina communities, there remains a long road to repairing the damage of the historic job loss and its harm to families and businesses.”

For detailed data on your county click here. Here are some key findings the data for all 100 counties:

  • 67 counties have fewer employed persons in March 2015 than in December 2007
  • 70 counties have more unemployed people in March 2015 than in December 2007
  • The labor force in 67 counties declined from December 2007 to March 2015

Year over year, metro areas have seen improvement as the number of unemployed declined and the number of employed grew. However, in five of the state’s 15 metro areas, average hourly wages have declined. This signals that employment growth has not been sufficient to improve the well-being of all workers.

“As the economy recovers and enters its sixth year, it will be important to continue to monitor whether the economy is delivering greater economic security and employment opportunities to all,” Sirota said. “The March local labor market data suggests that there is a need to target policies towards communities continuing to struggle and ensure that the benefits of growth are broadly shared.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota,; Jeff Shaw,, 503.551.3615 (cell).