by Jordan Green

Monitoring the economic pulse of the Triad

Jobs picture improves across the state over 12 months

The economic recovery remains frustratingly slow for job seekers in North Carolina, but last week the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the NC Commerce Department reported some numbers that at least suggest that trends are headed in the right direction. And lower unemployment is good news on all fronts because it generally indicates that more people are taking home paychecks, the state is required to pay out less money in unemployment benefits and people have more discretionary income to purchase goods and services, creating more revenue for businesses and demand for workers.

Unemployment across the state dropped from 10.4 percent in September 2011 to 8.9 percent in September 2012. In the state’s three major urban areas, the unemployment rate has dropped about 0.7 percent over the past 12 months, landing at 9.1 percent in the Piedmont Triad, 9.2 percent in Charlotte and 7.3 percent in the Research Triangle.

The Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported that Greensboro and High Point saw the second largest net employment increase, after Raleigh and Cary. The division counted 8,600 new jobs in the Greensboro/ High Point metro area from September 2011 to September 2012, including 3,000 in manufacturing; 1,700 each in government and professional & business services; and 1,100 in leisure & hospitality and education & health services. The Winston-Salem metro area lost 2,800 jobs over the same period, including 1,600 in manufacturing, 1,500 in government and 1,200 in education & health services.

Despite the reported job loss in the Winston-Salem metro area, the unemployment rate also dropped by 0.7 percent, consistent with the rest of the Triad. The countervailing trend lines might reflect an increasing number of job seekers getting discouraged and dropping out of the labor market.

Greensboro farmers market opens to crafts on Nov. 11

The annual Holiday Arts & Crafts at the Market takes place at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market on Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market offers handcrafted jewelry, pottery, fiber art and culinary treats in anticipation of the holidays.