MEDIA RELEASE: NC overall unemployment remains stagnant, with some growth in low-wage industries

RALEIGH (March 28, 2013) — North Carolina's economic recovery continues to struggle, according to new jobs numbers released by the Division of Employment Security released today.

Although the unemployment rate dropped from 9.5 to 9.4 percent over the last month, the longer-term picture is much more troubling. While the national jobless rate dropped from 8.3 to 7.7 percent since February 2012, the state’s rate has remained stagnant over the last year, fluctuating slightly between 9.6 and 9.4 percent since last February.

"Not only did the state produce insufficient new jobs to bring down the overall unemployment rate, but the industries experiencing the best growth in an otherwise stagnant labor market are those industries that pay lower than average wages," said Allan Freyer, public policy analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center.

For example, while employment in goods-producing industries remained essentially flat, the service sector grew by more than 2 percent over the last year. The slow-growth goods-producing sector pays $22.93 per hour on average—more than $2 above the statewide average of $20.15, while fast-growing service sector pay just $19.65 per hour 55 cents below the state average hourly wage.

Within the service sector, individual industry results are even more troubling. The fastest growing sector over the last year is Leisure and Hospitality Services, which experienced more than 5 percent growth since February 2012, but pays an average wage of just $8.05 an hour, more than $12 below the state average.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Allan Freyer,, 919.856.2151; Jeff Shaw,, 503.551.3615 (cell).