The Lead Feed

The first in a series on Manufacturing in North Carolina, this blog examines the industry’s critical role in our economy.

Do high starting wages for college graduates correspond to higher earnings over the long term? How might this differ across college majors? As shown in NC TOWER with data from the Common Follow-up System (CFS), this interactive figure compares graduates’ wages across different major areas in the first and tenth years after graduating from the University of North Carolina (UNC) system.

In this edition of NC Economy Watch, we assess whether the economy is heading for a hard crash or a “soft landing”. The economic slowdown over the past year has been “soft”; although our economy is slowing, it’s still growing and showing no signs of a recession. Inflation has also slowed notably, but a “landing” is elusive as prices continue to rise.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Labor & Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) is happy to note that the May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics data is available across multiple platforms such as our Demand Driven Data Delivery System (D4), the Occupational Wage Lookup Tool,, and the BLS Website.

In this edition of NC Economy Watch, we check in on labor market conditions in our state. Fewer workers are quitting their jobs now than during the peak of the so-called “Great Resignation”. While this might suggest conditions are starting to normalize, other evidence shows our labor market remains out of balance, with still too many job openings and not enough jobseekers.

For the past 20 months, LEAD has asked North Carolina businesses about their current concerns and business conditions through a new survey we’ve created. Here are a few trends we’re watching.

As LEAD’s research has shown, automation has, is, and will continue changing North Carolina’s labor market. Preparing now for future disruptions from automation can help mitigate negative impacts. This article explores policies and strategies to do that.

Exploring the post-graduation paths of high school graduates can provide valuable information to help education and workforce stakeholders make data-informed policy and program decisions.

Employment in Leisure and Hospitality has grown nearly 25% since January 2013 to nearly 530,000 jobs in NC. This growth was severely disrupted by COVID but jobs were recovered by January 2023 and are now surpassing Pre-COVID levels.

In this edition of NC Economy Watch we take stock of how high interest rates have affected the North Carolina economy. The Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates at the fastest pace in over 40 years, making it more difficult for businesses and consumers to access credit. So far, our state’s economy has largely held up in the face of tightening credit conditions, but the delayed effects of high interest rates may lead to more serious consequences in the months ahead.

Small businesses are often celebrated as the “lifeblood” of the economy for their oversized role in job creation, innovation and contributions to overall GDP. But how many people actually work at one?

Beginning today, career explorers can use their password to login to This now provides multiple options for log-in credentials.

According to data from the US Census Bureau, the share of the US workforce that worked the majority of the week at home rose from 5.7% in 2019 to 17.9% in 2021 – an increase in the number of at-home workers of more than 200%. This article explores the places around the state where remote work has become most common.

LEAD’s next blog in the automation series examines exposure to automation-related employment disruptions at the regional level in North Carolina.

In this edition of NC Economy Watch we examine rising prices in our region and nationwide. Price inflation remains stuck at decades-high levels, causing hardship for consumers and threatening to tip our economy into recession. While it’s difficult to predict how the future course of inflation will evolve, price growth is likely to remain elevated due in part to a shortage of available workers.