UNC Fraud Report Released

Unemployment Up Slightly In Orange

Orange County’s unemployment rate ticked up again last month, from 5.3 percent in July to 5.4 percent in August.

That’s the latest from the State Department of Commerce. According to numbers released Wednesday, the unemployment rate went up in August in 74 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

County numbers are not seasonally adjusted, so it’s better to compare the unemployment rate from year to year rather than month to month. The August 2014 unemployment rate of 5.4 percent is still lower than it was one year ago, but not by much: in August of 2013, Orange County’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.

Orange County has the seventh lowest unemployment rate in the state; Currituck County is tops with a rate of 4 percent, followed by Chatham County at 4.9 percent. (Graham County ranks last with a rate of 13.4 percent.) The overall unemployment rate in the Triangle is 5.7 percent.

Statewide unemployment numbers for September will be released on October 21.


State Unemployment Rate Continues Climb

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.

August 2014 N.C. Unemployment Figures Release


Orange County Unemployment Inches Up

Unemployment rates inched up across the state last month, including here in Orange County.

The local unemployment rate rose from 4.8 percent in June to 5.3 percent in July, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. This is still lower than the statewide rate of 6.9 percent.

Orange County has the 8th lowest unemployment rate in the state, with approximately 3,900 people looking for work. In the Durham-Chapel Hill Metro area, the majority of job losses were in the education, health services and government sectors. Statewide, more than 322,000 workers are currently seeking employment.

Officials warn the July numbers are preliminary and not adjusted for seasonal variations. August numbers will be released in mid-September.

You can read the full report here.


Unemployment Up For Second Time In Three Months

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.


OC Jobless Claims Down In June

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.


North Carolina’s Job Recovery Remains Sluggish

North Carolina’s unemployment numbers for June were released last Friday, and the rate remained at 6.4 percent – the same as the month before.

Jobs are being added, according to economists. So why are the numbers flat?

“Now we’re seeing the flip side of what we observed before,” said Professor of Economics at UNC-Chapel-Hill Patrick Conway. “More jobs are being created, but the unemployment rate is staying the same, or maybe even going up in the past couple of months. And that’s because people who dropped out of the labor force because they couldn’t find a job and they got discouraged saw the increase in the number of hires and now they’ve come back.”

The previous situation he referred to is the period in North Carolina last year that saw unemployment drop from 8.8 percent when Republican Gov. Pat McCrory took office, to 8.1 percent in July, and steadily downward through the end of the year. It settled at 6.4 percent in May.

Conway spoke to the News & Observer’s Rob Christensen about that period for a recent commentary. In his piece, Christensen threw cold water on a Fox Business New anchor’s speculation that McCrory could run for president in 2016, by touting on that dramatic drop in the unemployment rate.

Here’s Conway again:

“What we observed was a large drop in the unemployment rate,” said Conway, “but at the same time, we observed very little growth in jobs.”

Other economists back him up on that. John Quinterno of the Chapel Hill economic research firm South by North Strategies told Bloomberg News that the labor force contracted late last year by around 95,000 people.

Conway said that people are now returning to the workforce, as defined by labor statistics. That means a lot of them are just looking for jobs again. That, said Conway, has kept the unemployment rate flat even as actual employment numbers are rising.

Then, there’s the matter of who’s even hiring these days.

“That’s been somewhat of a disappointment,” said Conway. “I can’t speak to the most recent month, but in previous months, the largest growth in employment was in jobs that pay fairly low wages – so, hospitality, or retail jobs.”

And a lot of people are taking part-time jobs, said Conway.

According to figures he supplied, the real median hourly wage in North Carolina hit its peak in 2010 at $13.20, and has declined every year since.

It’s currently at $12.87 per hour.


NC In June: Fewer Employed, Jobless Rate Flat

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.


Slow Job Recovery for NC Metros

North Carolina unemployment rates in the metro areas may be steadily decreasing, but not quite fast enough to make up for the losses suffered from the “Great Recession.”

The Division of Employment Security stated in a recent press release that 10 of the state’s 14 metro areas have not yet reclaimed the jobs that were lost over the course of the recession. Six of these metro areas will take more than a decade to create enough jobs to return to the numbers they had given their current employment growth rates.

“This is really the most important measuring stick for every jobs report: are we creating enough jobs to meet the needs of workers who want jobs?” says Public Policy Analyst with the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, Allan Freyer. “The first test of that is whether we have created enough jobs to dig ourselves out of the hole that was created during the Great Recession.”

Freyer states that the Chapel Hill area is making the right steps in making jobs. “Durham-Chapel Hill has done really well. Over the last year, Durham-Chapel Hill gained about 4,400 jobs. They’ve created 6,000 jobs since the end of the recession, so it is one of the few metro areas that have seen positive growth.”

As for the upcoming year, Freyer says that the Chapel Hill area will continue to open up opportunities for those who need them.

“I do think Durham-Chapel Hill will continue to add jobs. They have already reclaimed enough jobs to fill the hole created by the recession,” assures Freyer. “I think for many of these other metro areas, several of them will, in all likelihood, by the end of this year, create enough jobs to get back to where they were in 2007.

Freyer also warns that there needs to be a change for other metro areas in order for greater job growth to happen.

“For a lot of these other metro areas, they have many, many, many years left to go to get back to where they were before the recession began, if they keep creating jobs at the present rate.”


NC Unemployment Steadily Improves

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.



NC Unemployment Rate Hits Nearly Six-Year Low

North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in nearly six years in February at 6.4 percent.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the jobless rate fell from 6.7 percent in January, a total of 0.3 percent. However, the numbers aren’t all positive.

While the report shows nearly 15,000 fewer people claimed unemployment, only 7,400 more people were hired.

The same trend is apparent when comparing the numbers over the year: nearly 50,000 more people were employed from February 2013 to 2014, while more than 112,000 fewer people claimed to be unemployed. That decreased the jobless rate 2.2 percent in just 12 months.

February 2014 also put North Carolina’s unemployment rate lower than the national number for the first time since March 2006.

The county-by-county unemployment numbers are scheduled to release April 9.

To see the complete breakdown of North Carolina’s February unemployment stats, click here.