Following the aftermath of plummeting employment numbers due to the pandemic, statewide worker numbers continue to rise, according to recent data released by the N.C. Department of Commerce.
Unemployment was tracking 14.2% in April 2020, dropped to 5.8% in October 2020 and has gradually been on the decline since. Prepandemic it waffled between 3.4% and 4.7%.
In July 2022, it was 3.4%, comparable to 2018 and 2019 numbers. It’s a fraction less than the nationwide average, 3.5%, and nearly 70,000 fewer people are unemployed compared to July 2021.
The number of individuals with active employment increased to nearly 5 million — a 213,715 annual change from 2021. The average weekly wage in North Carolina is $948.
Based on seasonal adjustments, major industries that are experiencing more total workers are in government, at 12,900; professional and business services, at 5,100; education and healthcare, as well as leisure and hospitality both by 3,600; and trade, transportation and utilities at 1,800. Construction, manufacturing, financial activities, information and mining and logging saw minimal to no change.
In the Wilmington metro area, covering New Hanover and Pender counties, the data showed 138,500 total nonfarm jobs in July 2022, a 0.1% increase from June, and a 3.2% increase from July 2021.
More than 4,000 new jobs have been added to the Wilmington area in the last year, with 1,000 each coming from the government sector and leisure and hospitality; 700 from education and healthcare; 600 from professional and business services; 300 each from manufacturing and “other” services; and 100 each from information, financial activities and mining and logging.
Trade, transportation and utilities is the only sector that saw a slight decrease locally, at 0.4% — down 100 jobs.
Year over year, New Hanover County had a decrease in unemployment, from 4.9% to 3.6%. The county ranks 81 out of 100 counties for the lowest amount of unemployment.
Pender County ranks 66th, with a current unemployment rate of 3.8%; Brunswick County rates 18th, with a 5.2% unemployment.
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