Official N.C. unemployment rate drops to 6.2 percent, Hood sees good news behind headline number

North Carolina’s official unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent in April. That’s down 0.1 percentage point from a revised 6.3 percent rate in March.

For a third straight month, North Carolina’s official rate is lower than the national unemployment rate, which is listed at 6.3 percent.

Beyond the headline number, John Locke Foundation President John Hood takes note of the following developments:

• In April, payroll jobs went up by 15,300 positions, and the household employment count went up by 14,100. These monthly rates of increase were faster than the national average.

• Since North Carolina exited the unemployment insurance (UI) extended benefits program in mid-2013, the number of North Carolinians counted as unemployed has dropped by 97,000 people, or 40 percent — one of the largest unemployment declines in the nation. Both payroll jobs and household employment are up 1.7 percent since June 2013, beating the national average rates of growth in both categories. The vast majority of North Carolina’s improvement is due to more people finding jobs (+75,000 since June 2013), not to workers dropping out of the labor force (-22,000 since June 2013). North Carolina’s labor force had already been shrinking before extended benefits went away. The trend continued through 2013, although the state’s labor force has grown by more than 18,000 since February.

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