LEAD releases June N.C. Today

The N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division has released its June issue of N.C. Today.

The North Carolina economy showed signs of improvement in May, but overall results are mixed. The smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased in May to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent. Total nonfarm employment fell by 5,900 jobs over the month, but rose by 56,300 jobs, or 1.4 percent, over the year. The data appear less positive for manufacturing in the state as goods producing employment fell by 2,600 over the month and 4,800 over the year. May’s average manufacturing work week also declined slightly over the month and year.

In 2012, North Carolina’s real GDP rose 2.7 percent to $393 billion, which was faster than the national growth rate of 2.5 percent and that of 39 other states, according to recently published data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The manufacturing sector grew at the same rate as the overall state economy last year. While North Carolina grew at the slowest rate of any of the top 10 manufacturing states, the state had the fourth largest manufacturing sector (in terms of real GDP) in the nation.

Online job openings in the state decreased by 6,200 in May, according to the Conference Board. Other leading indices were more positive regarding the direction of North Carolina’s economy. May’s edition of the NCSU Index of Leading Indicators rose by 1.3 percent for the month, and was driven in large part by a jump in residential building permits, according to Dr. Michael Walden, developer of the index. The index reached its highest level in five years. Nationwide, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index also reached its five-year high point in May. The index, which had improved in April, rose again from 69.0 to 76.2. These back-to-back monthly gains suggest that consumer confidence may be recovering from a period of political and budgetary uncertainty present in early 2013.