RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – Unemployment in the Piedmont Triad continues to trend slowly downward, following the state into what most analysts consider full employment.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reported Wednesday that unemployment rates decreased in 50 counties in February and stayed the same in 38 more. As was reported last week, the statewide rate is 3.7%, which is .1 lower than January and 2.1% lower than February 2021.

North Carolina’s county-by-county rates (NC DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE)

The trend also bares out across the 14 counties that comprise the Piedmont Triad, with seven of the counties showing a decline, six showing no change and one, Wilkes County, increasing by .1 to 3.7%. Caswell County’s rate fell by .2 to 4%, and all others were down by .1.

The lowest rate in the Triad was 3.3%, attained by both Davie and Stokes counties, and the highest were 4.3% in Guilford and 4.2% in Rockingham.

Statewide, the NCDOC reported that Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate (8.9%), and Orange County had the lowest (2.5%).

How Greensboro/High Point employment picture looks. (NC DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE)

Among the state’s 15 metropolitan areas, Winston-Salem was tied for the fourth-best rate (3.5%) and Greensboro-High Point was at 4.1%, which was third from the highest. in the middle of the pack. If you combine both areas into one, the overall rate is 3.8%.

But both were among the nine metro areas that had rate decreases. Five others were unchanged. Durham-Chapel Hill was the lowest, at 2.9%).

Statewide trend

North Carolina’s unemployment rate has declined every month for the past year as the economy continues to rebound from the brief recession caused by COVID-19, when unemployment in April 2020 spiked to 14.8%, which was the highest rate recorded since tracking began in 1948, a congressional report found.

The rate in February 2021 was 5.4% in North Carolina and 6.2% nationally. Many economists have said that unemployment rates of around 4% comprise full employment.

The U.S. gained about 678,000 jobs in February, nearly a 50% increase from the 481,000 gained in January. The NC Department of Commerce’s release said that 182,600 had been added statewide in the past year and that North Carolina’s labor face in February surpassed 5.015 million.

There were only 187,258 listed as employed, more than 75,000 fewer than a year ago.