This chart shows North Carolina's monthly unemployment rate from 2007 to 2012. The chart uses seasonally adjusted figures. Move cursor over chart line to see monthly percentages. Change the chart view by dragging thumb tabs that appear when the cursor moves over the edges below the main chart.
Source: N.C. Division of Employment Security
North Carolinas unemployment rate held steady for a third consecutive month as the state reversed a disturbing decline in the number of jobs.
The N.C. Division of Employment Security reported Friday that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.4 percent in June.
The rate remains well above the national unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, and only four states Nevada, Rhode Island, California and New Jersey have higher unemployment rates than North Carolina.
The state added 16,900 jobs in June after seasonal adjustments. That job growth followed three months of a decline in the number of jobs.
We had some job growth in the month, but not enough to change the fundamental unemployment dynamics, said John Quinterno of South by North Strategies, a Chapel Hill firm specializing in economic and social policy.
Still, the number of jobs added in June in North Carolina ranked third in the nation after California and Ohio, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A total of 29 states and Washington, D.C., enjoyed job growth in June.
The state also revised its May jobs data in a positive direction. The new figures shows that North Carolina lost 9,300 jobs in May, not the 16,500 it initially reported.
I do think the revision to the May data was significant, Quinterno said. They May numbers were so bad originally, and now they are less bad.
Although the job numbers are likely to be choppy from month to month, N.C. State University economist Mike Walden expects the overall trend for the rest of the year will be continued job growth.
But that expansion will come slowly because consumers are focused on paying down debt and therefore arent spending as they have in past economic recoveries.
I think well see this for a year or two, Walden said.
Likewise, Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner expects incremental improvement going forward.
The employment picture is gradually improving across North Carolina, Vitner said. The pace of hiring is picking up slowly. Weve added 37,000 jobs over the past year.
Still, he said that he wouldnt be surprised if the unemployment rate rose in the next couple of months because of the influx of high school and college graduates into the work force.
Unemployment among the young is relatively high, Vitner said.
Overall he projects that North Carolina will add 50,000 to 60,000 this year, which would lower the unemployment rate closer to 9 percent by the end of the year.
The professional and business services sector in North Carolina posted the largest month-over-month increase in June, adding 6,400 jobs.