The Triangle’s jobless rate inched up to 5.2 percent in November, but as the year draws to a close the region’s unemployment rate seems unable to break into the 4-percent range as economists had expected.
The jobs data was issued Wednesday by the N.C. Department of Commerce and was seasonally adjusted by Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte.
The Triangle remains among the strongest regional economies in the state, with healthy job growth in the technology sector, life sciences and financial services. The jobless rate in the greater Raleigh area was 4.8 percent in November and 5.1 percent in the greater Durham area.
Economists had expected the jobless rate to stay below 5 percent in the Triangle after it briefly dipped to 4.9 percent in January. But the job gains have not been able to outpace demand from job applicants.
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Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner predicted that when labor officials revise the jobless rate in February, the Triangle’s jobless rate will come out lower than Wednesday’s measure. Vitner said he expects the rate to continue declining and to land at 4.7 percent at the end of next year.
“I am a little surprised by the rise in the jobless rate,” Vitner said. “My sense is that the Raleigh area is growing as solidly as ever.”
The statewide jobless rate was 5.7 percent in November, while the national rate was 5 percent.