Prosperity Watch (Issue 75, No. 1): Where Hurricane Matthew hit the hardest, jobs have been slow to return

June 5, 2017

When Governor Pat McCrory sought for an emergency declaration on Oct. 7, 2016, Eastern North Carolina had already been battered by an economy that left them behind. Six months later, local labor market data reveals that counties hit the hardest by Hurricane Matthew are still suffering from anemic job growth. The number of employed people has gone down in 28 counties in the Eastern part of the state since December of 2007.  The map below reveals groups of counties in the Southeastern and Northeastern parts of the state, separated by Wayne and Greene counties, which since 2007 have only added 894 employed persons collectively. 

In the Southeastern corner of North Carolina, Scotland, Robeson, Cumberland, Sampson, Bladen and Columbus counties have lost 17,215 employed people since December 2007.  Robeson County has lost 6,288 employed persons, while Cumberland County lost 3,002 since pre-recession. These two counties were among the hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew and are still in the process of rebuilding their communities.

In Northeastern N.C., 22 counties lost 25,403 employed persons since before the recession. Between four counties—Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe and Halifax—12,132 employed persons were lost since 2007. These communities, like Cumberland and Robeson, were also hit particularly hard by the flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

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