News & Media

What’s Happening In Our Economy and What it Means For You

The Labor of Economics and Analysis Division of the NC Department of Commerce tracks and analyzes labor and wage data in North Carolina and breaks this information down by Workforce Board Region and County. Iredell County is part of the Centralina Workforce Development Board, led by Executive Director, David Hollars. In their most recent newsletter, the September 2022 numbers were released.  The Unemployment Rate in North Carolina for September 2022 is 3.6% with the national unemployment rate sitting at 3.5%.  Iredell County’s unemployment rate is currently at 3.1% with the average 3.0% of all 7 counties in the Centralina. Iredell County currently has 90,942 employed individuals and 2,861 unemployed individuals. You can view a full dashboard for the Centralina WDB here. Centralina WDB Overview | LEAD Analytics (

The Labor of Economics and Analysis Division shared a link to a presentation by Andrew Berger-Gross, Senior Economist with LEAD providing insights on “What’s Happening in Our Economy and What it Means for You”. In the presentation Berger-Gross compares the 2001, 2008, and Covid-19 recessions and recovery to one another.  He shares insights on the short-term and long-term impacts to the labor market and what we are facing a labor shortage.  He also looks at the supply and demand factors at play and why we are facing inflation and a potential recession.  Finally, he shares thoughts on the Future of Work, what to expect and what we need to do as a community to prepare our workforce, underlying the need for a public/private partnership to approach workforce development to help us address the barriers of entry at all levels of employment.  Here are a few highlights from the presentation:

  • We are currently in a “A jobseeker’s market” and are experiencing the tightest labor market on record, as of April 2022, there was less than 1 worker available for a job.
  • Where are the workers?  The availability of workers has been a problem that has been growing over the past two decades.  The Boomer population have been retiring or leaving the workplace since 2001, representing a 58% decline in the labor force participation over a 20-year period. At the same time, the population growth rate in the last decade has declined to half of what it was 20 years ago.
  • In response to COVID the Government provided stimulus to help the economy and it created demand, but not supply. Companies are creating jobs, but not workers.  Demand is important, but supply matters too. “You cannot demand that which cannot be supplied”
  • Workforce development is essential for maintaining supply of qualified labor.  It really takes partnership.  Workers need help identifying opportunities and securing needed skills. Employers need help identifying job candidates that have the skills needed.  We are facing a paradigm shift both in terms of workers and employers in how they are viewing skills, credentialing, and recruitment of employees. Labor shortages are likely to affect jobs at all education levels with barriers to entry and workforce needs differing by education level:
    • High-education jobs: pathways to bachelor’s degree attainment (and more)
    • Middle-education jobs: post-secondary credentials and skills training
    • Low-education jobs: supportive services and job matching
  • The U.S. economy is still growing, but it is showing signs of cooling. Employers are still hiring, but it has slowed, and wage gains are beginning to slow.  Consumer spending growth has slowed.  The economy is approaching a more sustainable balance of supply and demand. Easing supply chain and labor market conditions might reduce inflationary pressure. “Pent-up demand” may help prevent a deeper economic downturn. However, despite some improvements, inflation continues to rage.  History suggests we’re in for more interest rate hikes—and possibly a recession. The COVID-19 recession was short, but the next recession might be longer and more severe resulting in permanent layoffs and long-term joblessness.


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