The Triangle’s jobless rate crept up to 4.7 percent in January from 4.6 percent in December as job growth has slowed down in recent months.
The unemployment rate rose as the region lost 6,200 jobs for the month, according to data issued Friday by the N.C. Department of Commerce and seasonally adjusted by Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte.
The Triangle’s jobless rate had dropped to as low as 4 percent in July before it began increasing in the second half of last year. Still, the region has gained 35,900 jobs from January 2016 to January 2017, which is considered a strong showing, said Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner.
Vitner said a single month’s employment survey may be skewed by statistical sampling. In December, for example, the Triangle gained 9,000 jobs, or a quarter of all the jobs gained in the past year.
While the region lost 6,200 jobs in January, the labor force shrunk by 6,000 people during the same month. The labor force represents all people who are employed or looking for work.
The labor force expanded by 35,900 people in the past 12 months, the same number as jobs gained. As long as the labor force keeps up with job gains, the unemployment rate won’t budge.
The job gains are tallied by a household survey. Another survey, called the employer survey, found that the state added 23,600 jobs in the past 12 months. The two surveys rarely match up but often move in the same direction with job gains or losses.