The Lead Feed

In this edition of NC Economy Watch, we review some of 2023’s key economic trends and speculate on how these trends might evolve in the year to come. Slower economic growth and lower price inflation have led to widespread expectation that interest rates will finally start to ease in 2024. We’ll be watching for signs of how far interest rates might fall and whether our economy will experience a soft landing, a hard landing, or no landing at all in the months ahead.

North Carolina’s population is getting older, a trend with the potential to reshape our economy and our workforce. In this article, we use data from the North Carolina Common Follow-up System (CFS) to show how older workers are faring in our state’s labor market.

In this edition of NC Economy Watch, we assess current conditions in the construction sector. Despite preliminary data showing a decline in construction jobs, most signs continue to depict a construction sector that is active and growing, driven in part by a surge of investment in factories and infrastructure.

How long do people commute for? Do people work where they live and vice-versa? In a two-part blog series, we seek to answer these questions using recent Census data.

The latest QCEW release gives us the most timely and detailed view of what’s happening across North Carolina’s industry sectors. This article looks at where jobs and wages have grown – and declined – over the past year, and how inflation has impacted assessment.

Every first and third Tuesday, starting at 11:30 am, our team of analysts and economic experts go “beyond the numbers” to explore emerging workforce trends, untapped opportunities, and growing career fields across NC. Join us for the LMI Tuesdays webinar series!

Following the COVID-19 recession, employment rates for individuals with disabilities hit record highs nationwide and in North Carolina, yet the exact reasons behind this sudden increase remain largely unresolved. In this article, we use American Community Survey (ACS) data to examine several proposed explanations for the surprising uptick in disability employment.

In this edition of NC Economy Watch, we provide some context for the recent manufacturing slowdown. The manufacturing sector experienced turbulence during the past year and has declined as a share of the North Carolina economy since the 1980s, but a nationwide surge of new investment in manufacturing facilities offers hope for a potential renaissance in the years to come.

Individuals with disabilities are an important source of workforce talent but have historically experienced poor labor market outcomes. This article uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) to describe the workforce outcomes and employment barriers of individuals with disabilities in North Carolina.

This is the third article in LEAD’s recent Manufacturing series, which explores North Carolina’s Industry 4.0 assets.

Recently released data from the US Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) suggest youth disconnection in North Carolina has returned to pre-pandemic lows. Primarily due to a strong economic recovery, youth engagement has rebounded quickly following the COVID-19 recession.

What happens to people after they leave our state’s prison system? How many find employment after prison? How much money do they earn? And how do these outcomes vary by race? The North Carolina Reentry Outcome Reporting System (NC-RORS) can answer all these questions and more. This article uses data from this new interactive tool to shed light on the employment outcomes of formerly incarcerated individuals.

Our last edition of NC Economy Watch provided a general overview of recent layoff activity. In this edition, we take a closer look at layoffs in our state and nationwide. Layoffs have increased slightly across most sectors of the United States economy, most notably in the freight industry. While layoffs might be on the rise nationwide, they remain near a multi-decade low, and most people who lose work in North Carolina are quickly re-employed in our tight labor market.

In a previous article discussing the updated data in, it was noted that the count of occupations available for review had increased from 793 to 823. What are these new occupations? is where career explorers can find up-to-date NC specific career information to meet their personal and professional needs, interests and goals. The site has recently received a complete data refresh based on the most recent definition of occupations and educational programs – using the latest BLS SOC and US Department of Education CIP taxonomies.