North Carolina Q4, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 290,102 employers, up 4.2% from 278,312
  • 4,550,446 employees, up 1.8% from 4,471,010
  • $1,036 average weekly wage, up 2.4% from $1,012
  • The average weekly wage is 12.6% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 5.1% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 11,790, which is an increase of 4.2%. The number of employees in North Carolina increased by 79,435, an increase of 1.8%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $24, an increase of 2.4%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 11,574 or 4.3%. Growth in private businesses in North Carolina grew faster than the national average of 2.5%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 71,623 or 1.9%. The growth in employees of private businesses in North Carolina was faster than the national average of 1.2%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $26 or 2.6%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in North Carolina grew slower than the national average of 3.8%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Professional services with 14.0% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 5.5%. Retail trade (11.8%), which increased by 1.2% and Construction (9.8%), which increased by 5.3%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Information57210.9%
Utilities407.4%
Educational services2196.2%
Waste services1,1406.1%
Transport and warehousing4146.0%
Professional services2,1015.5%
Construction1,4385.3%
Other services1,2285.2%
Real estate and rental6715.2%
Finance and insurance7605.2%
Healthcare1,0334.3%
Arts and entertainment1423.4%
Wholesale trade6083.1%
Agriculture and forestry943.0%
Company management502.8%
Accommodation and food services5642.6%
Retail trade4151.2%
Manufacturing930.9%
Mining and oil extraction-5-2.3%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 11.5% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 1.9% in the last year. Retail trade (11.3%), increased by 0.9% and Manufacturing (10.5%), decreased by 0.3%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Finance and insurance13,2667.6%
Other services5,4424.9%
Transport and warehousing6,8464.9%
Arts and entertainment2,7434.0%
Real estate and rental1,9803.3%
Educational services2,8443.2%
Construction7,1973.2%
Mining and oil extraction963.1%
Professional services8,0393.1%
Wholesale trade4,2512.3%
Accommodation and food services9,5652.2%
Healthcare9,8111.9%
Agriculture and forestry2591.1%
Retail trade4,6330.9%
Company management4310.5%
Waste services-230-0.1%
Manufacturing-1,282-0.3%
Utilities-356-2.5%
Information-3,912-4.9%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $2,004per week compared with the state average of $1,039. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $108 or 5.7%. Finance and insurance ($1,869), rose by $108 or 6.1% and Professional services ($1,747) declined by $137 or 7.3% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Finance and insurance$1086.1%
Waste services$466.1%
Company management$1085.7%
Construction$504.4%
Mining and oil extraction$534.3%
Healthcare$434.3%
Other services$304.2%
Information$634.0%
Wholesale trade$594.0%
Agriculture and forestry$303.9%
Accommodation and food services$133.6%
Retail trade$193.4%
Real estate and rental$363.4%
Educational services$272.7%
Manufacturing$252.2%
Transport and warehousing$10.1%
Arts and entertainment$-4-0.6%
Utilities$-52-3.0%
Professional services$-137-7.3%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In North Carolina. the industry with the most businesses is Restaurants and other eating places with 6.1% of the businesses in the state (with 17,795 employing 362,660 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 306 more businesses, an increase of 1.7% in the last year. Computer systems design and related services (3.3% of businesses) added 615 businesses, an increase of 6.8% and Management consulting services (3.2% of businesses) added 573 businesses, an increase of 6.5% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Urban transit systems1090.9%
Advertising material distribution services10258.0%
News syndicates1147.8%
Political organizations1929.7%
Broilers and meat type chicken production1129.7%
Other warehousing and storage1029.4%
Farm product warehousing and storage729.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Private households7279.6%
Computer systems design and related services6156.8%
Management consulting services5736.5%
Residential building construction5136.9%
Offices of real estate agents and brokers4167.9%
Software publishers32120.7%
Restaurants and other eating places3061.7%


Employees by Industry

Computer systems design and related services (3.3% of employees) added 615 employees, an increase of 6.8% and Management consulting services (3.2% ofemployees) added 573 employees, an increase of 6.5% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Cut and sew apparel contractors204116.5%
Advertising material distribution services22793.4%
Other performing arts companies485.0%
Satellite telecommunications9279.4%
Marine cargo handling29660.4%
Facilities support services1,86558.4%
Used motor vehicle parts merchant wholesalers65253.8%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Commercial banking8,46814.6%
Restaurants and other eating places6,6121.9%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores3,4264.1%
General warehousing and storage2,7699.6%
Residential building construction2,4928.7%
Computer systems design and related services2,4864.3%
Offices of physicians2,4693.2%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Photographic equip. merchant wholesalers, paying $3,558 compared with the state average of $1,039. Employees in the Photographic equip. merchant wholesalers industry were paid $1,312 more per week, an increase of 58.4% in the last year. Credit card issuing ($3,408) and Miscellaneous intermediation ($3,136) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Credit card issuing ($3,408 per week) were paid $1,198 more per week, an increase of 54.2% and Miscellaneous intermediation ($3,136 per week) were paid $388 more per week, an increase of 14.1% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Toy and hobby goods merchant wholesalers$1,362127.8%
Other communications equipment manufacturing$1,026100.1%
Hunting and trapping$61789.6%
Other cut and sew apparel manufacturing$51761.7%
Photographic equip. merchant wholesalers$1,31258.4%
Artificial fibers and filaments manufacturing$67857.3%
Used motor vehicle parts merchant wholesalers$49855.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Toy and hobby goods merchant wholesalers$1,362127.8%
Photographic equip. merchant wholesalers$1,31258.4%
Credit card issuing$1,19854.2%
Other communications equipment manufacturing$1,026100.1%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$71636.9%
Artificial fibers and filaments manufacturing$67857.3%
Hunting and trapping$61789.6%


Company Size

North Carolina Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in North Carolina by far. 59.3% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 261,054 small businesses in the state represent 95.1% of all private businesses. The national average is 91.2%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) North Carolina added 2,421 businesses in the last year, an increase of 0.9% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 2,193 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.8% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses added 215 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 1.7% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses added 13 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 2.6% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



North Carolina Employees by Business Size

North Carolina added 274,976 employees in the last year, an increase of 8.0% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 95,672 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 57.8% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 97,396 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 7.1% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 81,908 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 15.5% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

North Carolina Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

The smallest companies in North Carolina (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 4.6% more than the national average ($1,054 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in North Carolina (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 5.3% workers below the national average ($1,817 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $94 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 2.7% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $89 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 2.9% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $104 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of 3.2% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Restaurants and other eating places17,7951.7%
Computer systems design and related services9,6666.8%
Management consulting services9,3626.5%
Private households8,3139.6%
Residential building construction7,9776.9%
Offices of real estate agents and brokers5,6867.9%
Offices of physicians5,3841.9%
Offices of lawyers4,4672.0%
Insurance agencies and brokerages4,4276.1%
Accounting and bookkeeping services4,1794.7%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places362,6601.9%
General medical and surgical hospitals119,3882.0%
Temporary help services104,078-2.1%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores87,5464.1%
Management of companies and enterprises84,6540.5%
Offices of physicians79,4023.2%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters70,5220.1%
Commercial banking66,49814.6%
Computer systems design and related services60,3144.3%
Management consulting services44,1505.3%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Photographic equip. merchant wholesalers$3,55858.4%
Credit card issuing$3,40854.2%
Miscellaneous intermediation$3,13614.1%
Investment banking and securities dealing$2,973-2.4%
Securities and commodity exchanges$2,9720.0%
Portfolio management$2,90910.3%
Telephone apparatus manufacturing$2,8817.3%
Securities brokerage$2,8053.1%
Computer and peripheral equipment mfg.$2,7504.0%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$2,65636.9%




Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.