The economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented and almost instantaneous increases in the unemployment rate. The below figure shows the dramatic rise in unemployment in February 2020 and the subsequent month’s relative improved unemployment numbers.
Note: Unemployment is defined as people who are jobless, actively seeking work, and available to take a job. The official unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force (the sum of the employed and unemployed).
The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for North Carolina uses data from unemployment insurance tax returns that are filed by employers. The QCEW data cover more than 95 percent of the establishment jobs and are considered the most reliable source of employment activity. Importantly and unlike the monthly estimates, these numbers are available for all 100 North Carolina counties. This provides the ability to take a county-by-county examination of the COVID-19 pandemic employment impact across North Carolina.
Page 2: The below visual further breaks down percent changes in establishment employment sectors over time, compared to the February 2020 sector total.
Note: Establishment employment is defined as the total number of persons who work in or for the establishment including working proprietors, active business partners, and unpaid family workers, as well as persons working outside the establishment when paid by the establishment (e.g., sales representatives, outside service engineers, and repair and maintenance personnel).
The variants of COVID-19 continue to impact North Carolinians. NCPRO monitors several COVID-related indicators so that we are positioned to anticipate and avoid any future COVID-induced disruptions in the economy. While case counts vary across the state and most measures show a relatively low negative impact from the virus, daily hospital utilization has drifted upward since the April 2022 pandemic low.