What happened in the North Carolina economy in 2016? How did the economy fare compared to the U.S. and previous years? What key trends are emerging since the Great Recession? A new LEAD report
looks at several key economic indicators for the state, including population and labor force growth, unemployment and wage trends, industry and GDP changes, and projected employment.
Key trends about North Carolina include:
• Labor force & general population growth rates are strong, but slowing
. NC’s 2016 population growth rate (1.1%) is down from its 2.4% peak prior to the Recession, but has consistently remained higher than the U.S. over that time. Mecklenburg and Wake Counties accounted for 41% of the state’s net 2016 population increase. Labor force growth in North Carolina (8%) has outpaced the U.S. (4%) since 2007 - ranking 6th among the 50 states for labor force growth rate since the recession.
• We’re aging rapidly
. In 2016, the 15% of NC’s total population was 65 or older –and is projected to be 21% by 2034.
• Unemployment continues to decline.
North Carolina’s average annual unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points (to 5.1%) in 2016 versus a national decline of 0.4 (to 4.9%); however, the state’s rate remains above the nation’s.
• Job growth is strong.
North Carolina added 99,000 net new jobs over the past year to reach an annual average of over 4.26 million jobs, an increase of 2.4%. The U.S. grew by 1.7% during this time. Service-Providing industries contributed 85% of the net new jobs in the state.
• NC’s economy slightly outpacing the nation in growth.
North Carolina had the 10th largest economy by GDP in the U.S. in 2016 at nearly $518 billion, increasing 1.6% from 2015 – higher than the U.S. rate (1.5%) but lower than NC’s 2015 rate (2.7%).
• Service-Sector is projected to supply most of NC’s job growth.
North Carolina is projected to add more than 550,000 jobs by 2024, with Service-Providing industries projected to contribute nearly 90% of all net new jobs created. Most projected total job openings are expected to come from replacements rather than new growth.
• Demand for a higher-educated workforce is growing.
Jobs requiring post-secondary or college experience are projected to grow more quickly (15%) than those that only require a high school diploma (11%) and will make up over 35% of all jobs in 2024.
Check out the full report here