Charlotte-area jobless rate hovered at 6.5 percent in June

The Charlotte area’s June jobless rate remained unchanged from May and 2.2 percentage points lower than last year, new data show.

The unemployment rate for the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, S.C., area hovered at 6.5 percent in June, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce. It was 8.7 percent in June 2013.

All the state’s metropolitan areas saw a year-over-year decrease in the jobless rate.

Mecklenburg County’s jobless rate also saw a decline. The unemployment rate for the county was 6.8 percent in June, down 2 percentage points from the same month last year. Data show that 34,385 people in the county were unemployed in June.

The Charlotte area’s trade, transportation and utilities industry showed strong year-over-year growth, adding 8,600 jobs, a 4.8 percent increase. The professional and business services sector employed 8,000 more people this year, a 5.6 percent increase. The industry that includes construction jumped the most from last year, increasing its employment in the area by 6.8 percent and adding 2,800 jobs.

While Charlotte showed strong job growth, the left-leaning N.C. Budget & Tax Center pointed to the unemployment figures as an indication that the state needs to add jobs at a rate faster than the national average in order to overcome job losses seen during the recession.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate in June fell 2.1 percentage points from the same month last year. The national rate in June was 1.4 percentage points lower than June 2013.

“At the current rate of job growth, it will take North Carolina another year to completely replace the 300,000 jobs lost during the recession,” said Allan Freyer, an analyst with the center.

Another analyst expressed similar concerns.

“We have a recovery that’s moved at a painfully slow pace, and we’re still not back yet,” said John Quinterno, principal of South by North Strategies, a Chapel Hill-based research firm. “Many labor markets in North Carolina continue to underperform, and that’s a concern.”