The North Carolina Department of Commerce prepares 10-year projections of employment for nearly 90 industries and 800 occupations statewide and 16 sub-state areas. These projections, started in 2017, are an estimate of the future demand for workers based on historical employment data and various economic factors.
Health care support occupations, computer and mathematical occupations, and personal care and service occupations are projected to be the fastest growing occupational groups in all areas.
Also, in all areas, jobs that require at least some post-secondary education for entry are expected to grow faster than those that have lower educational attainment requirements. Despite that, more than half of all jobs created across all regions will still require either no formal education or only a high school diploma.
What is the takeaway from this information: North Carolina is going back to work. With record low unemployment, from 5.1 percent in November 2016 to 4 percent in March, employers are hiring. As noted, many of the fastest growing occupations are technical. And those occupations expected to see the most growth require at least some education beyond a high school diploma. But the job market is so good now that many jobs do not have an education component and accept a high school diploma as a terminal degree.
More evidence of the employment turnaround is the recent career fair the city of Goldsboro sponsored at the Goldsboro Event Center. About 25 businesses and employers were represented at the fair, which maintained a steady stream of people inquiring about work. These fairs are held every few years, depending on the job market. With the employment outlook being so positive over the next decade — N.C. Department of Commerce’s projections to 2026 — we can expect to see more job fairs. The great thing, though, is that these upcoming fairs may not be hosting people looking for work to move out of unemployment but to improve their employment positions.
If all indicators maintain their predicted levels, the job market across the state will remain on an upswing, and more North Carolinians will be working. It’s hard to be cynical with news like that.