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NC Economic Recovery Concentrated In Triangle

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

The latest North Carolina jobless numbers show a spike in county unemployment rates from Alamance to Yancey.  But there has been some positive movement over the past year.

May jobless numbers released by the NC Commerce Department show 92 counties with a higher unemployment rate than the month before.  But from this time last year, all 100 counties saw their unemployment rates drop.

Mekael Teshome is an economist with the PNC Financial Group.  He says there are positive signs the labor market is improving, especially in the Triangle.

"Here in the Triangle, employment is up five percent from early 2008, and the US just broke even," said Teshome.  "So, we’re not even in recovery mode we’re in expansion mode now."

But is the entire state in "recovery mode?"  The North Carolina Justice Center's Budget and Tax Center says job growth is still too slow, and that May’s local jobs report makes it clear the current economic recovery is concentrated in just a handful of metropolitan areas.

The metro area with the lowest unemployment rate is Asheville, at 5.1 percent, followed by Durham-Chapel Hill at 5.3 percent and Raleigh-Cary at 5.4 percent.

Despite the falling jobless rates over the year, a report by South by North Strategies shows during the same period, the state still has fewer payroll jobs than it had when the recession began December 2007.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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