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The U.S. now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country. Despite the pandemic, Election 2020 continues and states are making changes.

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3.3 million people reported being jobless last week, according to new Labor Department numbers. And Puerto Rico was supposed to hold primaries this weekend, though they pushed it back to late April, because of COVID-19.

Employment Data: NC's Metro Areas on Up and Up

The North Carolina Department of Commerce projects around 380,000 new jobs will be added to the state by 2026. (Adobe Stock)
The North Carolina Department of Commerce projects around 380,000 new jobs will be added to the state by 2026. (Adobe Stock)
January 16, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Unemployment rates decreased in 92 of North Carolina's 100 counties last November, according to data released this month by the state Department of Commerce.

Overall, since November 2018, the number of employed North Carolina residents has increased by more than 120,000 people.

Andrew Berger-Gross, a senior economist with the Department of Commerce, says the unemployment rate signals the strongest labor market he's seen in 20 years.

"Looking at some specific growth sectors, service providers have led job gains in our state in recent years, particularly strong growth in professional services, restaurants, and health care," he states. "Though we've also seen some very robust job growth in the construction sector."

Last fall, Buncombe County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state, 2.2%.

Employment estimates typically are adjusted to reflect seasonal patterns such as summer and holiday hiring, but Berger-Gross notes last November was different.

"Now what's interesting is this November, on a not-seasonally adjusted basis, unemployment went down statewide as opposed to going up, so that signals some particular strength in our current labor market," he says.

Berger-Gross points out that while unemployment is decreasing in densely populated and highly educated metro areas, globalization and automation have negatively impacted workers in Rust Belt regions.

"Unfortunately, growth has been slow in many of our rural areas, as well as some of our metro areas that have historically relied on manufacturing," he states.

Health care and social assistance are estimated to be the fastest growing fields in the state, according to estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC