The Charlotte area’s unemployment rate fell in July, as was the case throughout North Carolina. But the Charlotte area’s total number of jobs fell, led by a decline in government jobs.
The jobless rate in the Charlotte metro area, which includes Concord and Gastonia, dropped to 4.8 percent from 5 percent in June, according to a report Wednesday from the N.C. Commerce Department. In July 2015, the rate was 5.9 percent.
Over the month, the employment level of the Charlotte metro fell by a net 20,900 jobs, including 19,000 in the government sector. The manufacturing sector fell by 1,000 jobs. The sector with the biggest job gain was mining, lodging and construction, which added 800.
When jobs are lost and workers aren’t actively seeking work, they’re not counted in the workforce and therefore aren’t counted in the unemployment rate. That’s why an unemployment rate can fall even though jobs are lost.
Economists tend to caution against reading too far into one month’s worth of data, however, since it can be subject to big seasonal swings, especially in the government sector with seasonal professions like teachers. Over the last year, total employment in the Charlotte area has risen by 24,000 jobs, representing an increase of 2.2 percent.
The state’s unemployment in July was 4.7 percent, according to the Commerce Department. The national average jobless rate was 4.9 percent. The U.S. Labor Department reports August employment figures on Friday.
Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in July, down from 5.8 percent in July 2015. Below are the rates for some of the surrounding counties.
▪ Cabarrus County’s rate is 4.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in July 2015
▪ Gaston County’s rate is 5.2 percent, down from 6.5 percent in July 2015
▪ Iredell County’s rate is 4.7 percent, down from 5.9 percent in July 2015
▪ Lincoln County’s rate is 4.5 percent, down from 6 percent in July 2015
▪ Union County’s rate is 4.3 percent, down from 5.4 percent in July 2015