Area unemployment falls to 4.9%
Unemployment in the Durham-Chapel Hill metro area fell in February to 4.9 percent, the lowest rate that the area has seen since June 2008.
That’s according to seasonally adjusted data from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division.
The unemployment rate for the metro area, which includes Durham, Orange, Chatham and Person counties, in February was dipped near the 4.8 percent rate of June 2008.
The rate has been on a downward trend here since it peaked at 8.4 percent early in 2010, according to data from the division, following a climb that started in early 2008.
In February, unemployment was down about 33 percent year-over-year to 13,518. Total employment was also up by a slight margin of less than 1 full percent, at 0.5 percent, to 259,746 compared to the same month last year.
Meanwhile, the area’s labor force shrank. The size of the labor force in the metro area was down 2 percent to 278,384 in the month compared to February 2013.
According to a separate survey of businesses and government agencies about the jobs they have on the payroll, there was employment growth of 1.7 percent year-over-year in February in the metro area.
The largest year-over-year gains were in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, government, and trade transportation and utilities. The only sectors that didn’t see growth year-over-year was mining, logging and construction, which was flat, and manufacturing, which saw a 1.3 percent employment decline.
James Kleckley, director of the East Carolina University Bureau of Business Research, said in an email that the metro area has one of the healthiest economies in the state.
“Assuming that the national economy will continue to expand, which I expect, the Durham-Chapel Hill region should remain one of the state’s healthiest and should capture a good share of the jobs that ensue,” he said in an email.