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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News State North Carolina’s Unemployment Rate Drops To 9.9 Percent In February; Nonfarm Jobs Increased by 47,000 Jobs Over-the-Year

North Carolina’s Unemployment Rate Drops To 9.9 Percent In February; Nonfarm Jobs Increased by 47,000 Jobs Over-the-Year

RALEIGH, N.C. : March 30, 2012 - North Carolina gained 8,300 jobs over-the-month and the state’s unemployment rate decreased to 9.9 in February, down 0.3 of a percentage point from a revised January rate of 10.2 percent.
“North Carolina continues to gain jobs,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll. “The state has gained 112,000 jobs over the past two years. Growing jobs in North Carolina continues to be Gov. Perdue’s focus. Assisting people to find work through our employment services offices throughout the state continues to be a priority.”
Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm industry employment, as gathered through the monthly establishment survey increased to 3,962,400 in February. Since February 2011, total nonfarm jobs gained 47,000 jobs and the private sector showed an increase of 44,200 jobs. The largest over the year gain in Trade, Transportation & Utilities which increased 11,700 jobs and the second largest increase occurred in Education & Health Services which was up 10,900.
It is important to note that industry employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns. While seasonal adjustment factors are applied to the data, these factors may not be fully capturing the seasonal trend. Therefore, when interpreting the industry employment changes it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in both the seasonally adjusted series and the not seasonally adjusted series.
The number of people unemployed decreased by 11,526 to 463,983 (seasonally adjusted), over the month. The number of people employed increased by 16,813, to 4,224,398. Since this time last year, the number of people unemployed has decreased by 19,961. The state unemployment rate in February 2011 was 10.4 percent.
The next unemployment update is scheduled for Thursday, April 5, when the county unemployment rates for the month of February will be released.
Monthly labor force statistics for the state and substate areas are revised by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through the annual benchmark process. This annual revision updates the historical monthly labor force statistics to reflect revised new population controls, seasonal factors, employment estimates and unemployment insurance claims. The new population controls reflect, for the first time, the results from the 2010 Decennial Census. Both seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted data are subject to revisions back to 2007. Monthly Nonfarm payroll employment estimates for the state and substate areas are also subject to annual revisions required by the BLS. The employment estimates are adjusted through a process that overlays these sample-based estimates with actual employment data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program that has been adjusted to reflect CES employment definitions. The seasonally adjusted series are subject to revisions from 1990 forward.
The N.C. Department of Commerce has created the Labor and Economic Analysis Division. This division brings together the economists, analysts, and statisticians that previously worked in the Labor Market Information division at the former Employment Security Commission and Policy, Research and the Strategic Planning divisions within Commerce.
The North Carolina smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in February, a decrease of 0.3 of a percentage point over the month from January’s revised rate of 10.2 percent, and 0.5 of a percentage point lower than February 2011. Over the month, the number of persons unemployed declined by 11,526 (2.4%).
The civilian labor force was relatively unchanged at 4,688,381. Nationally, February’s unemployment rate was 8.3 percent. The number of persons unemployed was 12,806,000, while the civilian labor force was 154,871,000.
Starting with the January 2012 national labor force statistics, BLS incorporated new population controls that reflect the results of the 2010 Census. BLS did not revise historical data based on these population controls, and therefore, labor force statistics for January 2012 are not directly comparable with the previous years’ data.
Seasonally adjusted Total Nonfarm industry employment (3,962,400), as gathered through the monthly establishment survey, showed an increase of 8,300 (0.2%) since January 2012, and an increase of 47,000 (1.2%) since February 2011. Private sector employment grew over the month by 2,700 (0.1%) and over the year by 44,200 (1.4%).
It is important to note that industry employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns. Seasonal adjustment factors are applied to the data. However, these factors may not be fully capturing the seasonal trend.
Therefore, when interpreting the changes in industry employment, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in both the seasonally adjusted and the not seasonally adjusted series.
Of the major industries for which payroll data are seasonally adjusted, Government had the largest over-the-month gain in jobs (5,600; 0.8%), followed by Leisure & Hospitality Services (1,900; 0.5%), Professional & Business Services (1,600; 0.3%), Education & Health Services (1,400; 0.3%) and Financial Activities (200; 0.1%). Other Services (1,300; 0.8%) had the largest over-the-month decrease, followed by Construction (600; 0.3%). Manufacturing (300; 0.1%), Information (100; 0.1%) and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (100; <0.1%). Mining & Logging reported no gain. Since February 2011, Trade, Transportation & Utilities added the largest number of jobs (11,700; 1.6%), followed by Education & Health Services (10,900; 2.0%), Professional & Business Services (9,800; 1.9%) and Leisure & Hospitality Services (5,600; 1.4%).
The February 2012 not seasonally adjusted Total Nonfarm employment level of 3,913,100 was 25,300 (0.7%) higher than the January 2012 revised employment level of 3,887,800. Among the major industries in North Carolina, Government had the largest over-the-month increase in employment at 12,400 (1.8%), followed by Professional & Business Services (5,500; 1.1%), Education & Health Services (5,400; 1.0%) and Leisure & Hospitality (4,700; 1.2%).
Over the year, the Service Providing sector (all industries except Mining & Logging, Construction, and Manufacturing) showed an increase of 39,000 (1.2%) jobs. Education & Health Services experienced the largest employment increase with 10,500 (1.9%), followed by Trade, Transportation & Utilities (9,500; 1.3%), Professional & Business Services (7,900; 1.6%), Leisure & Hospitality (6,200; 1.7%), Government (4,400; 0.6%), Other Services (500; 0.3%) and Information (400; 0.6%). Financial Activities experienced the only employment decrease with 400 (0.2%). The Goods Producing sector grew by 3,100 (0.5%) jobs over the year. Mining & Logging declined by 200 (3.6%), while Construction increased by 200 (0.1%) and Manufacturing by 3,100 (0.7%). Food had the largest amount of manufacturing employment with 50,200 in February 2012, but decreased by 1,000 (2.0%) over the year. Machinery had the largest net over-the-year increase at 2,100.
Other manufacturing industries with over-the-year increases were: Fabricated Metal Product, 1,600; Electrical Equipment, Appliance & Component, 1,000; Transportation Equipment, 1,000; Furniture & Related Product, 900; Computer & Electronic Product, 700; Plastics & Rubber Products, 600; and Chemical, 200.
Average Weekly Hours for manufacturing production workers in February decreased by 18 minutes from January’s revised 41.1. Average Hourly Earnings fell by $0.07 to $16.49, as Average Weekly Earnings declined by $7.83 to $672.79.
Regular Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance (UI) totaled 52,433 in February, decreasing 33,771 from January. Forty-eight percent of Initial Claims for February 2012 were “attached” to a payroll, meaning that employees expect to be recalled to their jobs. A total of $119,298,956 in regular UI benefits was paid in February to 123,631 claimants statewide — an decrease of 19,123 claimants since January 2012. For the 12-month period ending February 2012, $3,558,041,125 was paid from all programs, both state and federal.
The UI Trust Fund balance at the end of February was in the red ($2,741,372,047). The State Reserve Fund balance was $86,769,562.
Source: NC Dept. of Commerce Division of Employment Security