Raleigh (Sept. 28, 2016) — New local labor market data released today show that the recovery in North Carolina has slowed to a crawl, or even lost ground in many North Carolina communities. Compared to August of last year, sixty counties fell below the national average rate of growth and fourteen counties actually lost jobs.

“A lot of people across the state can’t figure out what people in Raleigh mean by a ‘Carolina Comeback’ because they don’t see it happening in their community,” said Patrick McHugh, Economic Analyst for the Budget & Tax Center, part of the NC Justice Center. “We need to face the challenges confronting us head on, instead of simply claiming that everything is just fine and dandy.”

Highlights from today’s labor market data release include:

Many communities saw little or no recovery over the past year. North Carolina’s statewide economic figures have been bolstered by strong growth in a few urban and suburban areas, but many communities are not experiencing anything like a robust recovery. One-third of North Carolina’s counties (33) fell below 1 percent employment growth over the last year, and two-thirds (67) did not hit the 2 percent growth threshold.

Majority of North Carolina counties still have not recovered. Even after years of economic recovery, 60 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have fewer jobs today than existed before the Great Recession. Moreover, 56 counties still have a higher unemployment rate than before the Great Recession, a clear sign that recovery remains incomplete. Even with a growing statewide population and strong job growth in some parts of the state, many communities still do not have enough jobs for everyone who wants to work. (Click here to view an interactive map of how current employment compares to pre-recession levels by county.)

Some urban areas also struggling. A lack of recovery and robust growth is not limited to rural communities. Half of North Carolina’s metropolitan areas (Greensboro-High Point, Greenville, Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, New Bern, Rocky Mount, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem) did not reach 2 percent employment growth over the last year, and two metropolitan areas (Rocky Mount and Greenville) actually lost jobs.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT Patrick McHugh, Budget & Tax Center Economic Analyst, at Patrick.mchugh@ncjustice.org or (919) 856-2183; or Mel Umbarger, BTC Senior Communication Specialist, at mel@ncjustice.org or (919) 856-2567.