Monday numbers: A closer look at the state of North Carolina’s economy, now and in the future

By: - November 8, 2021 6:00 am

“We’ve gotten everything we lost back, plus a little more.”

Dr. John Connaughton, professor of financial economics at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, offered an upbeat outlook to state legislators last week.

John Connaughton, UNC Charlotte

Connaughton told members of a subcommittee on the use of federal COVID funding that after a year of staggering losses caused by the pandemic, jobs were gradually returning, and the unemployment rate would continue to brighten into 2022.

This week’s Monday numbers column takes a look at the state’s economic forecast, based on Dr. Connaughton’s presentation.

615,800 – Number of North Carolina jobs lost as a result of the pandemic recession

12.9 % – North Carolina’s unemployment rate at the height of the pandemic shutdown in April 2020

4.2% – The state’s current unemployment rate

5.9 % – North Carolina’s unemployment rate when adjusted for labor force participation

4.6% – the nation’s unemployment rate in October

6.6% – the U.S. unemployment rate when adjusted for labor force participation

7.8% – unemployment rate in Scotland County – currently the highest in the state

2.8% – unemployment rate in Orange County – the state’s lowest

86 – Number of North Carolina counties with unemployment rates at 5% or below

59.2% – North Carolina’s labor force participation rate in September

61 % – North Carolina’s labor force participation rate in the months prior to the pandemic

87,106 – Number of workers who are no longer participating in NC’s labor force

50,703 – Increase in the number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) in September

211,800 – Net number of jobs the state is expected to add in 2021

126,800 – Number of new jobs the North Carolina economy is expected to add in 2022

8% – projected employment increase in hospitality and leisure services in 2022

4% – expected North Carolina unemployment rate in December 2022

3.2% – North Carolina’s projected growth rate for 2022, with growth in all 15 of the state’s economic sectors

531,000 – Mumber of jobs added to the U.S. economy in October

11 – the number of days remaining before the NC Department of Commerce releases state unemployment rate data for the month of October

It is worth noting that COVID-19 has impacted different regions of the state very differently. While the Triangle and the coast have led the way in the recovery, other areas are still far more impacted. The NC Budget & Tax Center offers this look at our metro area over the course of the pandemic:

View Dr. John Connaughton's full presentation here.


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Clayton Henkel
Clayton Henkel

Communications Coordinator Clayton Henkel manages the NC Newsline website and daily newsletter, while also producing daily audio commentaries and the weekly News and Views radio program/podcast.