GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Unemployment across the Piedmont Triad continued to near its pre-pandemic levels, as rates for November tracked the same or slightly higher than they were a year ago.

Most of the 14 those counties saw an uptick of two or three percentage points compared to rates from last year, although they remained relatively the same as in October. Guilford County still showed a lower rate than in November 2021, and three counties were flat, the North Carolina Department of Commerce reported.

Statewide rates increased in 66 counties from last year, decreased in 20 counties and didn’t change in 14. Among metro areas, 11 of 15 increased, three decreased and one was unchanged.

All of this came along with news that the employment picture for college graduates this year was appearing very positive for this summer.

North Carolina’s unemployment rates for November. (NC DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE)

As 2022 neared a close, most counties in the Triad saw a decrease in unemployment from October and were among the 92 of 100 counties statewide that showed decreases. Rates increased in four and were unchanged in four.

Stokes County (3.4%) had the lowest rate in the Triad, followed by Davie, Surry and Yadkin (3.5%). Statewide the not-seasonally-adjusted rate was 3.8%.

Buncombe and Orange counties had the state’s best rate (3%), and Edgecombe County had the highest (7.3%).

All 15 metro areas showed decreases, led by Asheville at 3.1%. Greensboro-High Point was at 4.1%, and Winston-Salem had 3.7%. Burlington is at 3.8%, and Rocky Mount had the highest (5.9%).

Statewide report

The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in November by 26,268 to 4,922,940, the state reported, but the number of unemployed people declined to 193,189, a drop of more than 9,000.

In the past year, about 100,977 more people were employed and 6,359 unemployed.

“It is important to note that employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns; therefore, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in the not seasonally adjusted estimates,” the NCDOC said in a release.

Jobs to grow

The national unemployment rate is 3.7%, which clears the rise and fall of rates generated by the coronavirus pandemic, and surveys of employers revealed that they plan to add about 15% more college graduates this year than they did in 2022.

“In fact, nearly half of the employers that took part in our survey rated the job market for Class of 2023 college graduates as very good to excellent,” Shawn VanDerziel, executive director of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, said in a release. “There are a variety of factors fueling that idea, including the low unemployment rate.”

WalletHub, through data crunching, found that North Carolina has three cities – Raleigh, Charlotte and Durham – among the top 75 of best places to find a job.

Source: WalletHub

WalletHub, the national financial data site, evaluated 180 cities for job prospects, creating an index weighted by 80% for job market (think unemployment data and history) and 20% for socio-economics (including median income, commuting time and transportation costs).

The five best cities for job opportunities: St. Louis; Columbia, South Carolina; Atlanta; Orlando; and Wilmington, Delaware.

Highest employment growth could be found in New Orleans, San Francisco, Pembroke Pines, Florida; and Riverside and Fontana in California.

Overall the five best cities for getting a job were San Francisco, Columbia, Maryland, Orlando, San Jose, California, and Pittsburgh. Orlando was No. 1 for job market, and Columbia was best for socio-economics.

Raleigh was No. 36 overall, Charlotte was No. 51, and Durham was No. 63. Next best in the state was Greensboro (No. 135), followed by Winston-Salem (No. 164) and Fayetteville (No. 171).

Source: WalletHub
Joel Suarez of City College of New York (WalletHub)

The future picture

“The labor market is already essentially where it was pre-pandemic in some sense,” Joel Suarez, a labor studies professor at City College of New York School of Labor and Urban Studies, told WalletHub. “The unemployment rate is currently 3.7 percent despite the Federal Reserve’s attempt to increase unemployment.

“I think if we continue to have strong job growth numbers, will continue to increase interest rates, effectively attempting to fight inflation by sacrificing the most vulnerable American workers.”

Anthony R. Wheeler, Widener University (WalletHub)

Anthony R. Wheeler, dean of the business school at Widener University, told WalletHub that automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning will cause an “unnerving ride” in the employment picture.

“Entire job categories and industries will be displaced,” he said. “Look for an increase in jobs around the topic of digital transformation. Jobs related to how companies – from both product and process perspectives – transform in the digital age will increase in number.”

Triad unemployment data

                             Nov.          Oct.           June          ‘21   

Alamance          3.8             3.9             4.2             3.5

Alleghany          3.9             4.0             4.1             4.5

Caswell               4.0             4.2             4.4             4.0

Davidson           3.6             3.8             3.9             3.5

Davie                  3.5             3.7             3.7             3.3

Forsyth              3.8             4.0             4.2             3.8

Guilford             4.2             4.4             4.6             4.4

Montgomery   3.7             3.8             4.1             3.6

Randolph          3.7             3.9             4.0             3.5

Rockingham     4.3             4.5             4.6             4.3

Stokes                3.4             3.6              3.7             3.2

Surry                   3.5             3.8             3.9             3.3

Wilkes                4.0             4.1             4.3             3.7

Yadkin               3.5             3.5             3.7             3.2