NC Department of Commerce

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

North Carolina’s unemployment rate edged downward in September.  But some still call the latest jobless report “mixed.”

The state’s jobless rate sits at 6.7 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the month before.

NC Legislative Building,
Dave DeWitt

Leaders in economic development circles across the state are speaking out against the General Assembly's decision to end the short legislative session without passing an economic incentives package.

For the past decade, the state has used the Job Development Investment Grants program, or JDIG, to help lure large businesses to the state, but money in the fund could run out by late October.

Jobs
Thinglass / Shutterstock.com

North Carolina’s unemployment rate hasn’t moved much in the past several months as the state continues its slow trek towards job growth.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reports a July jobless rate of 6.5 percent.  That’s one-tenth higher than the month before, but 1.6 percentage points lower than a year ago.

Photo: North Carolina's Old Capitol building
Jorge Valencia

The House of Representatives has been busy working on a budget plan for the state and other large pieces of legislation. Here's a summary of the days news from the State Capitol:

The centerpiece of the spending plan lawmakers are adjusting is pay for public school teachers. A five percent raise is what House Speaker Thom Tillis and his colleagues are suggesting.

That’s almost the mid-point between the two existing budget outlines. The governor has suggested a two-percent raise, and the senate an 11-percent raise.

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

At first glance, there are several signs North Carolina’s job market is improving.  In fact, last week, the state Commerce Department reported the jobless rate in April was down to 6.2-percent.  That’s the lowest it’s been since 2008.

But some economists and advocates say unemployed workers are still facing a tough job market and less help from the state.

Former state Commerce secretary Keith Crisco has died. The Democrat faced American Idol contestant Clay Aiken in the Second Congressional District.  

Last week, Crisco said in a statement that he was waiting to see final vote tallies in the primary. It wasn't clear then  whether the race was close enough for him to request a recount or whether there would be a runoff.

Crisco was behind Aiken by a few hundred votes, according to unofficial totals. A Democratic strategist says Crisco was planning to concede the race to Aiken today.

Dale Folwell, Assistant Commerce Secretary for Employment Security, wants job seekers to verify more work searches per week.
NC Commerce

The state Division of Employment Security has the OK from the U.S. Department of  Labor to stop providing attorneys with hearing notices of unemployed workers.

Attorneys say that having access to notices of  jobless workers who are preparing to face-off with their former employer over benefits helps both parties.  It’s business for the attorney and counsel for the claimant.

But word from the the Department of Labor calls on DES to cease the practice of providing such confidential information.

Dale Folwell, Assistant Commerce Secretary for Employment Security, wants job seekers to verify more work searches per week.
NC Commerce

Thousands of jobless North Carolinians have been waiting for several weeks to get their first unemployment check.  State officials say they hope to have that back-log under control this month.

Assistant Commerce Secretary Dale Folwell heads the employment agency responsible for making sure the unemployed get their checks.

“Anytime there’s one case in our backlog, that’s one too many," said Folwell.

Construction workers monitor the a solar farm in Fuquay Varina
http://www.stratasolar.com / Strata Solar

North Carolina companies are in the midst of a sustainable energy boom. Solar farms have bloomed, wind farms could be on their way, and local entrepreneurs are experimenting with biofuels and solar power. But cheap natural gas and new legislation could slow sustainable energy growth.

Experts are discussing these advancements at the North Carolina Department of Commerce's 10th Annual Sustainable Energy Conference in Raleigh today. Keynote speaker Marilyn Brown is a professor from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She said today on The State of Things that many people are looking to fracking for natural gas to solve our energy needs.

Job Fair
Wake Tech Community College

There is some positive news on the jobs front across North Carolina.  The latest unemployment numbers show a drop in the jobless rate in every corner of the state from Asheville to Wilmington. 

Several metropolitan areas with unemployment rates in the double digits saw their numbers drop by nearly a full point in February.  Those communities include Greenville, Rocky Mount and Greensboro-High Point.  A lot of the movement reflects normal seasonal patterns. 

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