North Carolina’s statewide unemployment picture improved in the month of April, as the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent from March’s 9.7 percent, a .3 percent improvement.
According to data released Friday, May 18, by the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division, the number of unemployed across the state fell to 439,368, a decrease of 12,686. Over-the-year numbers also show improvement from a 10.4 percent unemployment rate in April 2011.
“Since January of 2010, our rate has dropped by two full percentage points and employers have added more than 100,000 jobs,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll. “Putting North Carolinians back to work remains our priority. Our employment services are located throughout North Carolina to provide numerous programs and job search assistance.”
The state’s labor force also contracted between March and April, as 11,215 NC residents, or .2 percent, left the state’s labor force. Year-over-year numbers however, show an additional 21,026 workers added to the state’s labor force.
The number of employed across the state increased to 4,229,753 workers, an increase of 1,471 between March and April. Since April 2011, 63,513 jobs have been added in North Carolina.
Total non-farm industry employment decreased by 1,300 jobs in April, falling to 3,958,100, though the state added 30,300 non-farm jobs between April 2011-April 2012. 84 percent of those jobs came from the private sector, 25,500. Private sector employment declined over the month by 1,200.
Professional and business services led the way with 3,600 jobs added over-the-month, while the state’s construction, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and mining and logging sector each added 100 jobs over-the-month.
The state’s largest over-the-month job loss came in the manufacturing sector which lost 2,900 positions. The information sector lost 1,100 jobs, other services lost 900, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities 800 jobs, and government lost 100 jobs.
Of the state’s major industries, the professional and business services category showed the largest over-the-year increase, adding 9,300 jobs. Education and Health Services added 8,400 positions, and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities added 6,700, and Government at 4,800.
Average Weekly Hours for manufacturing production workers in April decreased by 12 minutes from March’s revised 41.3 hours per week. Average Hourly Earnings decreased by $.04 to $16.57, while Average Weekly Earnings declined by $.494 to $676.92.
Regular Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance totaled 49,961 in April, increasing 1,349 from March. Forty-four percent of Initial Claims from April 2012 were “attached” to a payroll, meaning that employees expect to be recalled to their jobs.
A total of $116,464,653 in regular unemployment benefits was paid in April to 110,720 claimants statewide, a decrease of 6,987 since March 2012. For the 12 month period ending April 2012, $3,457,721,116 was paid from all programs, both state and federal.
The state’s unemployment rate decrease lags behind the national average of 8.1 percent. National figures indicate the number of unemployed across the country declined by 173,000 between March and April, though the civilian labor force declined by 342,000 positions, or .2 percent, which may indicate the improvement in the unemployment rate nationally could be a sign that the long-term unemployed may be leaving the labor force.
The U6 unemployment rate, a measure tracked by the United State Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks the country’s total number of unemployed, was 14.5 percent in April, unchanged from March 2012. Year-over-year numbers show improvement from April 2011’s 15.9 percent, or a 1.4 percent improvement.
The U6 rate allows the BLS to track the total number of unemployed across the country, and includes, “all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons.”
Persons, “marginally attached,” to the labor force, according to the BLS, include those, “who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months.” The U6 rate also includes discouraged workers who, “have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work,” and those who are employed part time who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.
The NC Department of Commerce will release Ashe County’s unemployment date on Friday, May 25.