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NC Labor Force Shrinks, Jobless Rate Unchanged

The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged for the month of June.  But analysts say there are underlying problems the state should be concerned about.  North Carolina’s unemployment rate was 8.8% in June.  The same as in May.  The national unemployment rate also remained steady at 7.6% in May and June.

Allan Freyer is a policy analyst with the Budget and Tax Center in Raleigh.  He says even though the state jobless rate is lower than a year ago (9.6%), the state’s labor force is shrinking.

“The state’s overall pool of workers is now actually at the lowest level since April of 2012.  So this is erasing, more than an entire year’s worth of gains and that’s not good.  It seems like we’re moving in the opposite direction of where we need to go.”

The NC Department of Commerce reports the June 2013 Labor Force was 4,709,264.  In June 2012, it was 4,713,705.  Leisure and Hospitality Services continues to lead private sector job growth.  But Freyer says this should worry the state since many of those jobs are known to pay low wages.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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