North Carolina unemployment rate rises – sign of ‘distress’


RALEIGH- North Carolina’s unemployment rate rose to 3.8% in October 2022, the third consecutive month the rate has increased after a long period of historically low statewide unemployment.

The latest report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics classified the month-over-month increase as statistically significant, with the unemployment rate rising from 3.6% in September to 3.8% in October.

“This report shows that North Carolina lost more than 10,000 jobs in October, with almost the exact number showing as rising unemployment,” said Dr. Michael Walden, an NCSU economist and regular WRAL TechWire contributor. “There has also been a slight increase in the number of people leaving the labor market. These figures are responsible for the increase in the unemployment rate from 3.6% to 3.8% and the reduction in the activity rate from 60.6% to 60.5%.

Unemployment rate increases – for the second consecutive month – now by 3.6% in NC

Sign of “distress”?

And some interpretations of the latest jobs reports could mean that state and national economies are showing signs of distress, Walden explained.

“Reports indicate that fewer households are working, but those who are working have more jobs. That would mean fewer people working, but more workers working multiple jobs,” Walden said. “If accurate, this interpretation could be seen as a sign of distress. Fewer people are employed, but for those who are employed, more are working multiple jobs, perhaps to earn more income and keep up with rising prices.

Following the release of the better-than-expected October jobs report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month, Christian Lundblad, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, noted that the Federal Reserve may have no choice but to “engineer” a recession.

UNC professor: US jobs report means the Fed may have ‘no choice’ but to ‘create a recession’

In context, perhaps not “economically significant”

Nationally, the unemployment rate also rose, from 3.5% in September to 3.7% in October, the data showed.

“What happened in North Carolina is similar to national unemployment numbers in the United States,” Dr. Gerald Cohen, chief economist at the Kenan Institute, said Friday. “Both rates rose 0.2% with the strength down – ever so slightly – and the number of unemployed up.”

And the survey this data reports on is “quite volatile” from month to month, Cohen noted. “So it’s hard to tell if this is the start of a trend or just month-to-month volatility.”

Even though the jobless rate has increased in each of the previous three months, North Carolina’s jobless rate remains 0.6% lower than its October 2021 level.

“The number of people employed decreased by 10,310 during the month to 4,933,609 and increased by 154,352 during the year,” read a statement from the North Carolina Department of Commerce released Friday. . “The number of people unemployed increased by 9,944 during the month to 194,125 and decreased by 23,846 during the year.”

And, Cohen added, given the continued strength of the payroll employment report, also known as the monthly jobs report, “I think the rise in unemployment is not economically significant.”

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