The state’s jobless rate remained at a 14-month high of 4.2% during July as private-sector and government hiring increased at a modest level.
The report from the N.C. Commerce Department, released Friday, found a net gain of 8,500 private-sector and 2,000 government jobs from June to July.
Those gains helped deflect the typical summer pattern of the jobless rate increasing.
Teachers and students are included in the workforce at the end of their respective school years. Those who can’t find summer employment are considered unemployed.
When teachers receive their next school-year contract, they are considered employed again. When students return for their next school year, they are no longer listed in the workforce.
As has been the case in recent years, the two standard employment measuring sticks offer a mixed view of the state economy.
In the household survey, the state had a net gain of 18,915 in the labor force from June to July, which typically indicates more individuals entering or re-entering the workforce pursuing a job.
There was an increase of 17,620 individuals considered employed, as well as 1,295 more listed as unemployed. Those who drop out of the labor force play a role in lowering the jobless rate.
There was a modest amount of churn in the 10 private-sector categories compared with previous months this year.
The biggest jobs increase was 3,100 in trade, transportation and utilities, as well as 2,100 in other services, 2,000 in professional and business services, 1,700 in manufacturing and 1,600 in education and health services.
Meanwhile, there was a loss of 1,500 jobs in leisure and hospitality, and 700 in construction.
The leisure, hospitality and trade sectors tend to include lower-wage jobs.
Since July 2018, there has been a net gain of 72,600 private-sector jobs and 3,100 government jobs, according to the employers’ survey.
Leading the way were trade, transportation and utilities at 25,600, leisure and hospitality at 12,700, education and health services at 12,200 and professional and business services at 10,200. There were a loss of 2,500 manufacturing and 200 construction jobs.
According to the household survey, 92,864 individuals have gained employment since July 2018, while 22,428 have dropped out of the labor force.
“It’s another good report, and the state would be growing even faster if Hurricane Florence hadn’t devastated parts of the coast,” said Michael Walden, an economics professor at N.C. State University.
“One downside was the drop in manufacturing jobs, which is consistent with a slowing in that sector. North Carolina is more vulnerable to a nationwide slowdown with its greater reliance on manufacturing.
“All the more to hope for a Chinese trade deal,” Walden said. “North Carolina has a lot to gain from a resolution to the trade issues.”
For 70 years, an unemployment rate of 5% has been considered the point at which everyone who wants a job has one, employers have the skilled workers they need, and there is limited inflationary pressure on wages.
Yet most economists say the job market remains a challenge for people without the technical and other specialized skills needed in advanced manufacturing jobs. Individuals without jobs who are not looking for work are not considered unemployed.
The labor force data does not distinguish how many workers are full time, temporary or part time, or how many jobs people are working.
The federal labor-statistics bureau’s U6 index includes those categories. The U6 index rate for North Carolina was 7.6% on June 30, compared with 7% nationally on July 31.