North Carolina’s statewide unemployment picture held steady in the month of May, as the unemployment rate remained at 9.4 percent.
According to data released Friday, June 15, by the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division, the number of unemployed across the state decreased by 3,675 to 435,908 in the month of May.
“Over the past two years, North Carolina has gained 71,200 private sector jobs,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll. “Together with our workforce partners and employment service offices across the state, we are committed to helping employers put people back to work in North Carolina.”
The state’s labor force also shrank between May and April, as 9,478 NC residents, or .2 percent, left the state’s labor force. Year-over-year numbers, however, show improvement as 10,927 more NC residents have been added to the state’s labor force since May 2011.
The number of employed across the state decreased by 5,803 in May, or .1 percent, falling to 4,223,904. Since May 2011, 61,494 jobs have been added in North Carolina.
Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm industry employment decreased by 16,500 to 3,939,000 in May. The state’s trade, transportation, and utilities industry showed the largest over-the-month gain, adding 1,900 jobs.
Since last May, total nonfarm jobs have gained 11,500 jobs, with the majority, 19,000, coming in the service providing sector. The largest over-the-year increase was in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector at 9,600, followed by education and health services at 7,400.
Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm industry employment, 3,939,000, showed a decrease of 16,500, or .4 percent, since April 2012, and an increase of 11,500, or .3 percent, since May 2011. Private sector employment declined over the month by 15,800, or .5 percent, and increased over the year by 7,000, or .2 percent.
Of the major industries, trade, transportation, and utilities had the largest over-the-month gain in jobs, 1900, or .3 percent, followed by manufacturing, 400, or .1 percent, and information, 100, or .1 percent.
Professional and Business Services had the largest over-the-month decrease, 7,000, or 1.3 percent, followed by construction, 4,800, or 2.8 percent, Leisure and Hospitality, 3,600, or .9 percent, Education and Health, 2,600, or .5 percent, Government, 700, or .1 percent, Financial Activities, 100, or less than .1 percent, and Other Services, 100, or .1 percent.
Since May 2011, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities have added the largest number of jobs, 9,600, or 1.3 percent, followed by Education and Health Services, 7,400, or 1.4 percent, Government, 4,500, or .6 percent, Manufacturing, 700, or .2 percent, and Financial Activities, 400, or .2 percent.
Average Weekly Hours for manufacturing production workers in May decreased by 42 minutes from April’s revised 41.4 hours. Average Hourly Earnings fell by $.14 to $16.45, as Average Weekly Earnings declined by $17.31 to $669.52.
Regular Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance totaled 51,720 in May, increasing 1,759 from April. Forty-two percent of Initial Claims for May 2012 were “attached” to a payroll, meaning that employees expect to be recalled to their jobs, 2 percent lower than April’s 44 percent.
A total of $101,677,486 in regular UI benefits was paid in May to 103,622 claimants statewide, a decrease of 7,098 claimants since April 2012. For the 12 month period ending May 2012, $3,388,194,831 was paid from all programs, both state and federal.
North Carolina’s unemployment rate lags behind the national average of 8.2 percent. Nationally, the number of persons unemployed grew by 220,000, or 1.8 percent, while the civilian labor force increased by 642,000, or .4 percent.
The U6 unemployment rate, a measure tracked by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which ranks the country’s total number of unemployed, was 14.3 percent in May, a .2 percent decrease from April 2012’s 14.5 percent. Year-over-year numbers show improvement from May 2011’s 15.4 percent, or a 1.1 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 next unemployment update is scheduled for Friday, June 22, when the county unemployment rates for May 2012 will be released.