The Triangle's jobless rate dropped slightly in November to 8.7 percent, but economists expect it to continue rising into 2010.
The latest rate is based on county-level data released today by the N.C. Employment Security Commission and adjusted for seasonal affects by Wells Fargo Securities economists in Charlotte.
The November rate was a small improvement from October's adjusted rate for the Triangle of 8.9 percent. And it was still much stronger than the November state rate of 10.8 percent and national rate of 10 percent.
Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner predicts the Triangle rate to top out at 9.5 percent this summer.
"We expect around 9,000 jobs to be created over the coming year," he said. "But the labor force will grow even faster than that as folks who dropped out of the workforce over the past two years re-enter the workforce and push unemployment higher."
Employers remain reluctant to hire across the country, as the worst of the recession eases and the economy begins to slowly recover. This region has seen some new job announcements recently, with expansions planned at technology employers such as Cree, EMC and Talecris Biotherapeutics.
But this area's traditional foundations of government, education and health care aren't rushing to add more workers.
In Wake, Durham, Orange and Johnston counties, 60,586 people were out of work in November, the ESC reported. That was 500 fewer people than in October.
The ESC delayed releasing the latest local jobs data until today because of the holidays. The national jobless data for December is scheduled to be released Friday.
The News&Observer uses the adjusted data for the local jobless rate because it provides a more statistically valid measure of employment. The ESC uses adjusted data for the state jobless rate.