Triangle jobless rate 4.9% in January

The Triangle’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in January at 4.9 percent as the regional and state economy have leveled off.

The jobless rate for the region that includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary was also 4.9 percent in December and in January 2015.

The county and regional jobless rates for January were issued Friday by the N.C. Department of Commerce and seasonally adjusted by Wells Fargo Securities.

While the jobless rate is stagnant, the economy is improving, said Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner.

“We’re moving forward – we’re adding jobs,” Vitner said.

The Triangle added 43,200 jobs over the 12-month period ending in January. In January 2016 alone, the Triangle added 10,500 jobs according to a household survey, and about 3,600 jobs according to a survey of employers. The two surveys often don’t align precisely and can fluctuate from month to month.

Just as importantly, however, the Triangle’s labor force – people employed and those looking for work – grew by about 7,800 people in January and by 45,100 over 12 months. The growth of the labor force prevented the jobless rate from coming down, even as jobs were added.

The national average jobless rate was also 4.9 percent in January; the statewide average was 5.6 percent.

John Murawski: 919-829-8932, @johnmurawski