The Lead Feed

Is it better to focus efforts on acquiring academic credentials or skills if you’re working toward building a good-paying career?  The answer, not surprisingly, is both.  However, when we control for skills, the wage returns for occupations requiring higher education and experience are reduced by anywhere from a third to two-thirds.  This demonstrates that skills are indeed a significant determinant of occupational wages in North Carolina; quantifies the linkage between education and skills; and highlights the importance of skill development at all education levels.  

North Carolina is projected to add over 550,000 jobs by 2024. The following summary analyzes information on employment growth and projections at the state level for the 2014-2024 period and provides key findings by major industry and occupational groups.

It is common to see averages and medians used to analyze wages and compare them between occupations, but those measures don’t tell the whole story in understanding what employees are paid. What about the range of wages among employees who share an occupation? Looking at OES data, we see that workers in some occupational groups are paid within a wide range of wages, while employees in other occupations tend to make relatively similar wages.

Something is clearly wrong with our labor market when unemployed jobseekers are unable to find work amidst a flood of job vacancies.  Is this a sign of mismatch in the marketplace?  Or might there be other forces at work?  This article introduces several new metrics to help you understand the state of mismatch in North Carolina and the areas of greatest need in our labor market.

Young firms play an important role in the dynamism of North Carolina’s economy.  However, their contribution to overall job creation has fallen substantially in recent years.  As part of LEAD’s ongoing investigation into declining economic dynamism, this article identifies some of the industry sectors hit hardest by this trend and discusses the implications for our broader economy.

Two researchers recently published new data on contingent work across the U.S. labor market. This new information helps us better understand the rise in nontraditional work arrangements and highlights the impacts of employers like Uber through the so-called “gig economy.”

Significant differences in economic wealth exist among North Carolina’s counties.  No one will debate this.  But the data that are selected and its interpretation are critical to identifying the differences in economic success.  This article briefly discusses the value of data selection – specifically, the differences between wages and income.  Understanding data is critical to identifying problems and potential solutions.

New and rapidly-growing businesses account for much of the job creation occurring in North Carolina.  This article assesses the importance of new and “high-growth” firms and how their recent troubles threaten the economic dynamism of our state.

Despite early indications of a volatile labor market, newly-released data revisions demonstrate that North Carolina’s unemployment rate remained stable throughout 2015.  This article explains what labor market watchers can learn from these new data and provides some helpful tips for how to avoid getting caught off-guard by future data revisions.

Jobs are constantly being created and destroyed in our dynamic economy.  The process whereby productive companies displace their less-productive competitors, known as “creative destruction”, has been shown by economists to play an important role in driving overall job growth.  In this article, we illustrate what the process of creative destruction looks like in North Carolina using firm-level employment data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

The NC State Institute for Emerging Issues’ annual conference will be held early next week.  This year’s theme is Future Work, and the key question that the forum poses is: “Is technology and demography shift, how can North Carolina prepare today to create enough good jobs for tomorrow?”

In this article we examine a new measure introduced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta—the “ZPOP” ratio—which suggests that 92% of North Carolina’s population is currently in the type of work arrangement they desire. This measure confirms other indicators (such as the unemployment rate) demonstrating that North Carolina’s labor market has made rapid gains in recent years.

Workers with degrees in science and engineering are on the fast track to employment in the high-paying STEM jobs of the 21st century.  This article shows how science and engineering grads are faring in North Carolina’s labor market and provides information to help economic developers harness the underutilized STEM talent existing in certain areas of our state.

A new and improved NC Today is now available and looks very different from previous versions. We hope you find the upgrades, which are listed below, to be useful.

Over half of North Carolina’s workforce has a more advanced educational credential than is required for entry into their field of work.  This article describes who these workers are, where they are employed, and what “underemployment” can tell us about our state’s labor market.