The North Carolina unemployment rate fell slightly in September as the number of people employed increased, a sign the state labor market continues to improve.
The state jobless rate fell in September to 5.8 percent from 5.9 percent in August, according to a report from the N.C. Commerce Department released Tuesday. North Carolina added a net 3,670 more jobs over the month, led by gains in leisure and hospitality.
Rick Kaglic, a Charlotte-based Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond senior economist, noted in a call with reporters that there has been a bit of a shift this month from employment gains in goods-producing industries to service-producing ones. Kaglic cautions, however, against reading too far into one month’s data.
Leisure and hospitality jobs grew by 4,000 over the month, and financial activities grew by 3,000. Meanwhile, construction employment fell by 3,300, and manufacturing fell by 1,000, according to the report.
“Construction has been growing very briskly in North Carolina, so it seems to be taking a bit of a breather in September,” Kaglic said.
South Carolina’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent in September, its lowest point since February 2008, as employers continued to add jobs, according to a separate report.
Over the year, Kaglic noted, the payroll employment growth rate in North Carolina was 2.6 percent and in South Carolina was 3.2 percent. Those figures compare with a national employment growth rate of 2 percent year over year.
“When you take a look at job growth numbers in North and South Carolina, they’re both indicative of a brisk economic expansion in the region,” Kaglic said.
The national unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in September. The U.S. Labor Department reports October figures Nov. 6.