Wilmington, NC – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Growth amid National Turmoil

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The Wilmington, NC job market navigated a turbulent national economic landscape in December 2023, experiencing modest yet consistent growth. While the national unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%, Wilmington maintained a slightly higher rate of 3.9%, indicating a healthy demand for workers. This stability offers promising prospects for job seekers in the coming months.


  • Overall job growth: The Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) added 400 jobs in December, bringing the total nonfarm employment to 161,100 [1].
  • Unemployment rate: Though slightly higher than the national average, the unemployment rate remained steady compared to November 2023 [1].
  • Wage growth: Average weekly wages continued an upward trend, reaching $999 in December, a 4.3% increase year-over-year [1].

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Professional and Business Services: This sector added the most jobs (200), driven by growth in occupations like computer and mathematical occupations, and management occupations [1].
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities: This sector saw an increase of 100 jobs, primarily in retail trade and transportation and warehousing [1].
  • Leisure and Hospitality: While smaller in size, this sector added 50 jobs, highlighting continued recovery in tourism and related industries [1].

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Construction: This sector shed 50 jobs, potentially reflecting a slight slowdown in the local construction industry [1].
  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector also saw a small decline of 25 jobs [1].

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Job growth: Compared to December 2022, the Wilmington MSA added 2,300 jobs, reflecting a positive year-over-year trend [1].
  • Unemployment rate: The unemployment rate in December 2023 was 0.2% lower than the previous year, indicating a tightening labor market [1].
  • Wage growth: Average weekly wages were $44 higher than in December 2022, showcasing continued wage gains for Wilmington workers [1].

Compare to Previous Month:

  • Job growth: December 2023 saw a slight slowdown in job growth compared to November 2023, which added 800 jobs [1].
  • Unemployment rate: The unemployment rate remained unchanged compared to the previous month [1].
  • Wage growth: Average weekly wages increased slightly compared to November 2023 [1].

Future Outlook:

While national economic forecasts remain uncertain, Wilmington’s job market is expected to maintain its moderate growth trajectory in the coming months. The continued expansion of the healthcare, tourism, and professional services sectors is likely to fuel hiring activity. However, potential headwinds like rising interest rates and inflation could dampen growth later in the year.

10 Growing Occupations:

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Home Health and Personal Care Aides
  3. Customer Service Representatives
  4. Sales Representatives
  5. Software Developers and Applications
  6. Truck Drivers
  7. Elementary and Middle School Teachers
  8. General and Operations Managers
  9. Marketing Specialists
  10. Construction Laborers

10 Companies Hiring Now:

  • nC Health
  • Cape Fear Memorial Hospital
  • Zimmer Biomet
  • PPD
  • Corning Incorporated
  • Live Oak Bank
  • Wells Fargo
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
  • Belk