Business

Triangle jobless rate 4.2% in June, near 8-year low

Workers assemble boxes of field vegetables at The Produce Box in Raleigh, N.C. Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The Produce Box's weekly delivery of fresh produce across North Carolina generated $7 million in revenue last year. Courtney Tellefsen founded the business in 2007 and built it without any outside funding. Starting out with about 20 customers they now have over 11, 000.
Workers assemble boxes of field vegetables at The Produce Box in Raleigh, N.C. Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The Produce Box's weekly delivery of fresh produce across North Carolina generated $7 million in revenue last year. Courtney Tellefsen founded the business in 2007 and built it without any outside funding. Starting out with about 20 customers they now have over 11, 000. cliddy@newsobserver.com

The Triangle’s jobless rate ticked up to 4.2 percent in June, from 4.1 percent in May, but still remains near its lowest point since the spring of 2008, before the recession descended upon the nation.

The region’s jobless rate, having fallen from 5 percent in June a year ago, now appears to have bottomed out, according to Wells Fargo Securities economist Mark Vitner.

“The Triangle is essentially at full employment today,” Vitner said. “In this age of contract work and the gig economy, full employment does not necessarily mean the same thing that it did a decade ago. That said, the labor market is tighter today than any other time since the Great Recession and many businesses are having to work much harder to fill vacant positions.”

The county-by-county jobless data was issued Wednesday by the N.C. Department of Commerce and seasonally adjusted for The News & Observer by Wells Fargo. The unemployment rate for North Carolina and for the United States was 4.9 percent in June.

One reason the Triangle’s jobless rate is so low, Vitner said, is because the size of the region’s labor force – the total number of job holders and job seekers – is not keeping up with jobs here. The Triangle added 1,000 jobs in June, but the labor force shrunk by 1,000, according to a monthly household survey.

Over the past 12 months, the Triangle has added 30,800 jobs, but the labor force grew by only 23,200 job holders and job seekers.

“This is why the unemployment rate has fallen so sharply over the past year,” Vitner said.

John Murawski: 919-829-8932, @johnmurawski

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