Up Next

Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


News & Media

“Where are the Workers?” Report Released by NCGrowth & ncIMPACT

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 turned the labor market upside down. Job losses shot up and many businesses, if they were able to stay open, experienced significant drops in revenue. Today, the situation is the opposite. Businesses have experienced significant growth over the last two years and job openings currently surpass pre-pandemic levels. In fact, although the labor market started to cool in 2023, recent data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce show that North Carolina, like so many other states, has more jobs than workers – 61 workers available for every 100 job openings.

With all these data in mind, the ncIMPACT Initiative and NCGrowth partnered on research to better understand the challenges, changes and opportunities that COVID-19 and subsequent disruptions created for the workforce, particularly among young adults. We conducted 21 focus groups with over 130 employers, workforce support providers and young people throughout North Carolina to dig beneath the numbers and hear individual experiences and perspectives. We specifically sought to reach “opportunity youth,” 16- to 24-year-olds who are neither working nor in school. We also sought to maximize variation across employers and employment support providers to capture a diversity of perspectives and to illuminate cross-cutting themes. 

To find out what we learned and the recommendations we proposed, please download the full report.


You may also be interested in: