State jobless rate inches closer to pre-pandemic level

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 21, 2021

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell for the 10th consecutive month in July, the state Commerce Department reported on Friday, inching the percentage ever closer to pre-pandemic levels.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 4.4% came as the number of employed rose by 8,360 workers compared to June, when the rate was 4.6%. The national rate for July was 5.4%. Over the past 12 months, North Carolina’s total number of employed has risen by over 278,000 to nearly 4.78 million, the department said.

The overall labor force — including people working and actively looking for work — dropped by about 1,200 workers in July to just under 5 million.

North Carolina’s jobless rate was at 3.5% in January 2020. Within three months, it had soared to 13.5%, in large part due to COVID-19 lockdowns and commerce restrictions.

Data collected through monthly worksite surveys showed seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increasing by 75,600 in North Carolina in July, the department said. The government, construction and professional and business service sectors had the largest month-over-month employment percentage growth.