US, NC unemployment rates improving

CREDIT: North Carolina Department of Commerce

Sept. 21. The U.S. economy added 1.4 million non-farm payroll jobs in August, not as much as July, but more businesses are opening.

North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate was 6.5 percent, decreasing 2.0 percentage points from July. The national rate decreased by 1.8 percentage points to 8.4 percent. It was as high as 14.7 percent in April.

Due to COVID-19, North Carolina’s August 2020 jobless rate was 2.7 percentage points ahead of August last year.

Over the month, the number of North Carolinians unemployed increased by 24 percent to 100,105. The civilian labor force fell 1.5 percent to 4,825,921.

Trade, Transportation & Utilities had the largest over-the-month increase in jobs (0.9 percent), followed by Professional & Business Services (0.7 percent).

North Carolina ranks 15th on WalletHub’s list of “Most Improved” state economies, ahead of Texas (20th), Virginia (24th), Georgia (26th) and South Carolina (27th).

Coming in first, in terms of most-improved, was Idaho, with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, followed by Nebraska, at 3.9 percent. Coming in at 49th and 50th were New York (12.6 percent unemployed) and Nevada (13.3 percent unemployed).

For the full WalletHub study, click here.

Where recovery is happening

Economic recovery during the coronavirus epidemic has much to do with types of industry, said Daniel S. Bowling III, a senior lecturing fellow at the Duke University School of Law.


Anything that facilitates remote learning, teaching, working and shopping are the most resilient, Bowling said.

“However, humans are not wired to work and shop remotely forever, so I see a rebound in more traditional fields,” he said.

Skill sets

In the post-coronavirus job market, technical skills and command of online resources will be critical, he said.

We also have an infrastructure to maintain. Blue-collar jobs will be in great demand because there is a huge backlog of work to be done—and few people to do it.

“Air conditioners break, cars quit running, plumbing fails, etc., and COVID-19 does not make all of that go away,” Bowling said.


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