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NC Jobs Recovery Reaches Milestone

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North Carolina has recovered the jobs it lost during the deep economic downturn,  according to the state Commerce Department's latest unemployment report. Here's some context:

The recession got started a little late in North Carolina – job growth continued until February 2008. That's the month when employment peaked. Then North Carolina crashed through 24 straight months – two years – of job losses.

In February 2010, the slow, sputtering recovery began. And last month, finally, the number of jobs North Carolina created during the recovery exceeded the number it lost during the drop.  

"We've gained those jobs back and then some," Commerce Department spokesman Larry Parker says. "It's been a, certainly a long climb since February of 2010, but we're there."

So in raw numbers, the jobs are back. But North Carolina's population has grown substantially in the past six years, so here's another way to look at it: the unemployment rate.

In February 2008, the unemployment rate was 5.1 percent. Last month, it was 6.3 percent.

"There's some 50,000 more people unemployed than there was back in February of '08, so both the number of people employed and unemployed has gone up," Parker says. 

The bottom line is this: recovering the raw number of jobs the state lost is an important milestone, but there are still a lot of North Carolinians for whom the recovery is not a reality.