News & Media

Economic Indicators Dashboard | Four Key Takeaways on a Resilient Regional Economy

From The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

The Charlotte Region’s economy continues to demonstrate its resilience, according to the latest trends shown in the Economic Indicators Dashboard this month.

The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance® Research Team tracks key economic indicators to further assist economic development leaders in growing the economy through an understanding of needs brought on by current economic conditions. Each month, the team provides a report on current trends. Here are the top four takeaways for the state of the region’s economy.

1) Low Unemployment Rates Outperforming the Nation

The Charlotte Region unemployment rate trended all the way down to 2.9% in April 2023. This outpaces the nation and nestles in-between North Carolina (3.1%) and South Carolina (2.4%). While the unemployment levels remain low in the region, there has been an uptick in the national unemployment level recently, signaling the Charlotte Region as a continued top national performer.

One possible contributing factor to the low unemployment in the Charlotte Region is that the self-employed are beginning to shift into small business owners. According to Lightcast data, those who derive a significant part of their income through self-employment account for over 130,000 employees in the region. This segment of the labor force may be beginning to hire their own workers leading to these lower rates across the region.

2) The Charlotte Region Labor Force Remains Strong but Cooled Slightly

The labor force in the Charlotte Region remained steady, ending April with 1,649,566 participants, however falling short of what was a peak month in March that saw as many as 1,653,893 active participants in the labor force. A slightly less active labor force could also account for the lower unemployment rate as less people searched for work in April.

The steady labor force numbers are a testament to the regional economy. Despite tax hikes, inflation, and recession concerns the labor market remains active.

3) Job Postings Remain Steady Across Key Industries

Health care and life sciences have been a key economic driver with a high share of job postings coming out of the industries. The region should be expected to continue a steady pace of recruitment efforts within the health care and life science companies with Charlotte’s Innovation District “The Pearl” expected to be completed next year.

The financial services industry also continues to be a pillar for the Charlotte Region, growing by 2.9% since the same time last year and posting more than 2,000 jobs in May 2023.



4) Will the Charlotte Region slow down?

Experts agree that a slowdown is possible. According to John Connaughton of UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business, North Carolina has a 60% chance of a recession by the end of the year. While the Charlotte Region continues to deal with economic conditions better than many around the nation, there are still reasons to be cautious. The region is adding fewer jobs than has recently been the norm, layoffs around the region have dampened growth, and a pending recessionary period may discourage continued hiring for fear of over hiring.