Winston-Salem has made big strides when it comes to recovering from the economic toll of the pandemic. That's according to a report released last week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The report, which looked at data from April of this year, shows that the unemployment rate in the Winston-Salem area was sitting at 4.3%. A year earlier, that number was close to 13%.
Dr. Robert Whaples, an economics professor at Wake Forest University, says that's pretty significant.
“If you look at the unemployment rate for the Winston-Salem area over the last decade, the average has been about six percent," says Whaples. "And so it's not just that we're below the national average and the state average, we're below our long-term average as well.”
The national rate for the same period was 5.7%. Whaples says the lower local number could be related to how quickly the state has been able to reopen.
“I think those service sector jobs that were especially hit by the recession are coming back faster here in Winston-Salem, although they haven't come back all the way,” says Whaples.
The report shows the local labor force is still significantly smaller than it was pre-pandemic, indicating that many people have just stopped looking for jobs.