Local Labor Market Data Shows North Carolinians Are Still Having Trouble Finding Work Despite A Labor Shortage In The U.S.

CHARLOTTE, NC. — You can’t miss it: “Hiring” in big letters in front of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille. The restaurant is desperate for employees.

“It’s hard. It’s not just us. We’re actually doing better than most, I think, because I’m only looking for a dozen people. Where is a lot of people they can’t even open for an a.m. shift or p.m. shift,” says the owner of Matt Wohlfarth.

Wohlfarth says it’s been difficult to even get people in the door for interviews.

“Use your eyes. Just look around; every place you go, there are shortages.”

Despite Wohlfarth’s hiring dilemma, North Carolina’s labor market needs 237,000 jobs to meet the number of workers and the growth in the population that’s happened over the past year, says Alexandra Sirota with The North Carolina Justice Center. Adding, many of the people who lost jobs due to the pandemic still can’t find work, and many of the people who were paid the lowest wages before covid-19 suffered the worst employment losses.

“It really is a story of a recovery that’s underway we’re not complete and across North Carolina were saying that the recovery is not delivering the number of jobs yes for the workers that are looking for work,” says Sirota.

According to the most recent data from the NC Justice Center, Mecklenburg county’s employment level is 3.7% below pre-pandemic levels. That means more than 22,000 people living in Mecklenburg County are not employed. The data shows a 38% increase from last year in the number of people who are out of work and looking for work. Sirota says there are also many barriers that keep people from getting back to work.

“Month over month, it’s very hard for working parents to find a childcare spot for their kids; it’s very hard for them to figure out a plan for their kid’s schooling after a year of often remote schooling.”