RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that nationwide unemployment has now hit the lowest point since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Around 498,000 Americans filed unemployment claims in the last week of April, down by 92,000 from the previous week. North Carolina saw new claims drop by about 3,440 in the same period.
But that doesn’t mean the pandemic recession is over. North Carolina is still tens of thousands of jobs short of where the state was in March 2020.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ newly released April jobs report shows a significant decline in hiring. According to the report, U.S. businesses added 266,000 new jobs in April, a notable drop from March’s revised total of 770,000. April’s unemployment rate remains at 6.1%, a tiny change from 6% in March.
Meanwhile, the latest jobs report from the NC Department of Commerce shows that North Carolina businesses added 11,338 jobs in March — bringing this year’s total to 44,472 new jobs to date.
The jobs are coming — recent announcements from Apple, Amazon and others make it clear that the job market in the Triangle is in growth mode — but the economic rebound varies widely by industry and geography.
The Fayetteville area had the highest unemployment rate in March at 6.4 percent, followed by Rocky Mount at 6.3 percent. In contrast, Durham/Chapel Hill had the month’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.8 percent, followed by the Raleigh at 3.9…