RALEIGH -- At a time when North Carolina's unemployment rate sits above nine percent, one economist remains optimistic.
"Over the last three years, we've added jobs in the state at over five and half percent rate rather than four percent in the nation," said Mike Walden, an economist and professor at NC State University.
Mike Walden says job growth in the Tar Heel State is rising at a faster pace than the national level, and right now many of those opportunities in the Triangle are in healthcare.
"If a young person is looking for a career, and they haven't decided on an area to go into, something in the healthcare field would be very good in assuring they get a job," said Walden.
Healthcare officials say an aging population means an increasing demand for services.
"Healthcare is facing some tremendous challenges in the future with sequestration and the affordable care act that's coming soon, yet you have an aging, booming population that is coming and these people will need services," said Brian Smith, director of human resources for Rex Healthcare.
Duke University is also a top employer in the Triangle.
"We have a little over 1,000 open jobs and that includes all of Duke," said Kyle Cavanaugh, VP of administration for Duke University.
Officials say about 60 percent of the jobs at Duke University are within its health system.
"In certain functional areas like healthcare, we will continue to see opportunities," said Cavanaugh.
It is an outlook that shows promise in the coming years.
"We are one of the leading states in terms of people moving here from other states looking for work," Walden said.
A leading state for opportunity as the country continues to make its way out of the recent recession.