An advocacy group’s analysis shows more North Carolinians are out of work now than before the recession.
North Carolina’s unemployment rate has dropped sharply since the darkest days of the recession. But the state still has more people looking for work than it did before the start of the Great Recession in 2007, according to Patrick McHugh, an economist for the North Carolina Justice Center, a left-leaning advocacy group.
“There are 100 counties in North Carolina and over 60 of them still have fewer jobs than existed before the recession hit,” McHugh said.
This statistic may have you scratching your head if you know that North Carolina as a whole has gained jobs since 2007. But McHugh says those job gains are concentrated in a few counties in the state.
And in the metropolitan areas where there has been job growth, McHugh says employment hasn’t kept up with the rise in population.
“Even if you only look at metropolitan areas—the 15 metropolitan areas that exist in the state—every single one of them actually has seen more growth in unemployed people than in employed people,” McHugh said.
Economists measure Chapel Hill and Durham together as one of the state’s metropolitan areas, and its residents did not escape the overall trend.
“The Chapel Hill – Durham area, if you compare back to 2007, has seen about an 8 percent increase in the number of people who are employed and almost 50 percent growth in the number of people who are unemployed.”
Orange County had a 5 percent unemployment rate for June, which is still higher than it was before the recession. But McHugh says compared to most of the state, Orange County has it pretty good.
“Orange County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, and has seen decent job growth since the start of the recession.”
McHugh says the university presence and the county’s proximity to Research Triangle Park had a lot to do with its ability to weather the recession. McHugh says those employers also kept Chapel Hill and Durham’s wages up, even as wages have fallen in other metropolitan areas.
“If we adjust for inflation and we compare back to 2007, the average hourly wage in Raleigh has gone down by about two dollars, the average hourly wage in Charlotte has gone down just slightly by about 30 cents. In fact, about half of the metropolitan areas in the state have seen wages not keep up with inflation.”
Chapel Hill and Durham have the highest wage growth in the state, with an increase of $4.50 per hour.
McHugh says he believes raising the state’s minimum wage would boost earnings and employment. June was the fourth straight month unemployment has increased in the state.
You can do your part to help local residents at risk of homelessness – by giving them a chance to find work.
Orange County’s Community Empowerment Fund has a Job Partners Program, which offers job training to local residents and connects them with potential employers.
Right now they’re looking for volunteers to serve as Employer Liaisons – working to build relationships with employers and connect graduates of the program with job openings.
If you’re interested in volunteering, there will be a training session on Wednesday, December 10, from 5:30-6:30 pm at the Community Empowerment Fund office at 133 1/2 E. Franklin Street, just east of Columbia Street in downtown Chapel Hill.
For more information, or to sign up, contact the Community Empowerment Fund at 919-200-0233.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-town/heres-help-orange-county-residents-find-jobs
North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point in September, from 6.8 percent in August to 6.7 percent, according to numbers released earlier this week by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
The number of unemployed North Carolinians dropped by about 4,500 people in September – but that’s not necessarily translating into more jobs. In fact the number of employed North Carolinians also dropped in September, by about 5,600 people.
And North Carolina’s unemployment rate continues to lag behind the national average. In March of this year, the state’s unemployment rate had dropped to 6.3 percent, actually below the national rate of 6.7 – but since then, the national rate has dropped to just below 6 percent, while the state’s rate has slightly increased.
Still, unemployment is much lower in North Carolina now than at this time last year. The state’s unemployment rate in September 2013 was 7.7 percent – a full point higher than it is now.
County-by-county unemployment numbers are due to be released on Wednesday.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/unemployment-nc-employment
North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased for the second consecutive month and the third time in the last four months, according to the August figures release by the state’s Department of Commerce.
LAST MONTH: Unemployment Up For Second Time In Three Months
Nearly 10,500 more people claimed unemployment compared to July while more than 28,500 fewer people had jobs, according to the release. That increased the state’s unemployment rate 0.3 percent to 6.8 percent.
That still shows a 1.2-percent improvement from August 2013 with nearly 29,000 more people claiming employment from 2013 to 2014.
These numbers are seasonally adjusted, already accounting for the shift in work patterns, such as schools not being in session over the summer.
The national unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percent from July to August this year and now sits at 6.1 percent.
Unemployment claims climbed in July both nationally and in North Carolina, marking the second increase in the state since June 2012.
Nearly 20,000 fewer people were employed from June to July, according to the state’s Department of Commerce. However, jobless claims didn’t greatly rise, showing a 0.1 percent increase to 6.5 percent might not be telling the whole story. Only about 5,300 more people claimed to be without a job in July.
The numbers are still greatly improved from the previous year. In July 2013, 8.1 percent of the state’s population claimed to be unemployed.
Nationally, the shift went from 6.1 to 6.2 percent which is 1.1-percent better than a year ago.
The county-by-county figures are scheduled to be released August 27.
To see the complete breakdown of the state and national unemployment rate for July, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/unemployment-first-time-two-years
Unemployment claims dropped in 81 North Carolina counties in June, according to the Department of Commerce’s not-seasonally-adjusted release Wednesday.
Orange County remained in the top five for best unemployment rates in the state, improving by 0.1 percent to 4.8. Polk County joined Chatham and Currituck already ahead of Orange, with Currituck topping the list at 4.2 percent.
The Triangle continued to show strong improvement with a May-to-June change of 0.2 percent fewer people claiming unemployment. From June 2013 to June 2014, 1.8-percent fewer people claimed to be without work.
To see the complete county-by-county breakdown for unemployment in North Carolina, click here.
Statewide unemployment rates for July are scheduled to release August 18. In June, North Carolina’s rate flattened out at 6.4 percent since peaking at 11.3 percent in February 2010.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/oc-jobless-claims-june
More than 8,500 fewer people in North Carolina were employed in June compared to May, although the state’s jobless rate remained flat, according to the state Department of Commerce.
North Carolina’s 6.4 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June is now 0.3 percent higher than the national average and ranks the state tied for 32nd with Alaska. Bordering states South Carolina and Virginia are tied at 17th with 5.3 percent, Tennessee at 36th with 6.6 percent, and Georgia at 44th with 7.4 percent.
Unemployment claims in North Carolina fell by more than 2,100 people from May to June. Over the year, the number fell by more than 89,000 people, dropping the jobless rate from 8.3 percent in June 2013 to 6.4 percent this year.
North Carolina’s unemployment rate saw a small increase in May from its lowest point of 6.2 percent in April. That marked a low of more than five years, dating back to the start of the Great Recession.
County-by-county unemployment rates in North Carolina are scheduled to release July 30. To see the full breakdown of the state’s unemployment rate, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/june-fewer-employed-jobless-rate-flat
The North Carolina Department of Commerce reported the unemployment figures for both North Carolina and the US for the month of April, and there appear to be signs of improvement
While the month of January 2014 saw an unemployment level of 6.9 percent for North Carolina, the numbers have steadily decreased to 6.7 percent for the month of April.
Nationally, the percentage of those unemployed decreased to 6.3 percent from the much greater 7.5 percent at the same time last year.
The local area statistics stated that the number of employed citizens stands at over 4.3 million, with nearly 300 thousand left unemployed, as opposed to the previous year at this time, which was recorded at almost 4.4 million and a noticeably larger 400 thousand that were unemployed.
The next monthly employment update for North Carolina is set to be announced on May 28.
To see all of the employment figures for the state of North Carolina and the United States in detail, click here.
North Carolina’s unemployment rate marked its lowest point in nearly six years this January, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
In the first month of the new year, the jobless rate fell 0.2 percent compared to the month prior and 2.1 percent from the year before.
The numbers reflect true improvement from between December and January with more than 17,000 people claiming new jobs while more than 11,000 people no longer claimed to be without employment.
North Carolina’s unemployment numbers are just about even with the national level of 6.6 percent.
The state’s unemployment rate of 6.7 percent marks the lowest point since November 2008, which was in the middle of a five-percent increase in about a year and a half.
The county-by-county unemployment rates are scheduled to be released this Friday.
Click here to see the unemployment rate release.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/state-unemployment-rate-hits-five-year-low-january
Across the nation and here in North Carolina, the unemployment rate has been in decline, a fact that has many cautiously optimistic about the economy.
But U.S. Congressman David Price (D) of Chapel Hill says not so fast.
“Has the number of jobs, and people filling jobs, actually increased?” he says. “The answer is no.”
And he says that means federal and state government still has to be active in aiding both the economy and those individuals struggling to find a job.
“We’re still stalled here in this economy – you still have three people seeking (work) for every job that’s available – and so people still need this support system to go after these jobs,” he told WCHL last week, shortly after attending a pair of roundtables on unemployment at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh.
“These folks are really, really wanting to work…(and) I’m hopeful that eventually they’ll succeed, but the notion that you help them by pulling the safety net out from under them is just preposterous.”
At those roundtables, Price met with instructors and students in the school’s Human Resources Development program, which provides career advice and job skills training for students who need it.
“This is a group of people who have good training (and) good job backgrounds,” he says. “The group that I talked to was remarkable in that respect – but yet also remarkable in just not being able to penetrate this job market.”
Price says that’s why he’s currently urging both the federal government and the state government to extend unemployment benefits for those out of work. North Carolina legislators cut unemployment benefits last year, a move that also disqualified the state from receiving federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation as well. And at the federal level, Congress too is currently debating whether to extend unemployment benefits.
Price, along with a majority of Democrats, says it should be done.
“I don’t think there’s any question (about that),” he says. “Never – never – in a period of unemployment this severe have benefits been yanked at this point.”
Republicans in North Carolina point to the state’s declining unemployment rate as evidence that cutting benefits has motivated people to get back to work. But Price says the attendees at last week’s forum said otherwise—and he says the numbers seem to indicate that if anything, cutting benefits has actually motivated people to drop out of the job market altogether.
“The unemployment program requires you to seek work and keeps you plugged in to the employment security system,” he says. “One economist (at the roundtable) who has studied the trends said that the number of people seeking work actually went down when the unemployment benefits were discontinued…
“In other words, far from making people go out and look for a job more diligently, it seemed to have the opposite effect: it just discouraged people and caused them to drop out.”
North Carolina’s labor force shrank in 2013 by about 111,000 workers; about half of that came after the benefit cuts took effect in June. The state only added about 13,000 new jobs in 2013, but it did add more than 41,000 in the second half of the year after a drop from January to June.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/rep-price-cutting-benefits-doesnt-cut-unemployment