NC Unemployment

Chart shows the pattern of total employment in North Carolina
N.C. Department of Commerce / N.C. Department of Commerce

The estimated number of people employed in North Carolina decreased in August, marking the third straight month of decline.

The unemployment rate decreased as well, though that was due entirely to a decline in the labor force, a measure of all those in the state who are working or looking for work. Because the entire pool of those looking for work statistically shrank, so did the unemployment rate.

Assistant Secretary for the Division of Employment Security celebrated the state's unemployment trust fund surplus, on Thursday. Governor McCrory stood over his left should, while Secretary of Commerce John Skvarla looked on as well.
Jeff Tiberii

State officials are celebrating a $1 billion surplus in the North Carolina unemployment trust fund. The Wednesday announcement represents a significant swing from just two and a half years ago when the state owed the federal government $2.8 billion. This past May, the state paid down its debt a year before the due date. The savings have continued.

"Today I am very proud to announce the following - that we have built up our unemployment reserve fund to more than $1 billion," said Governor Pat McCrory before a crowd at the Employment Security Commission.

Image of sticky notes with one titled find job
www.flazingo.com / Flickr Creative Commons

New economic numbers out this month show workers in the Triangle are finding fewer jobs, and those who do have employment are making less money. 

The latest unemployment figures are the highest the Triangle has seen since August of last year. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Jason deBruyn about the latest figures. 

A U.S. Dept. of Commerce report says high-wage jobs are on the decline in North Carolina.
Andrew Magill / Flickr Creative Commons

New numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce show personal income in North Carolina is lower than the national average.

The state ranks 38th in average annual income. And North Carolina’s unemployment numbers are improving but does that show the full picture? High-wage jobs are vanishing and North Carolinians are taking low-wage positions.

Unemployment lines
Wikimedia

The North Carolina Senate has approved a proposal that would change a panel that hears appeals for unemployment insurance, but Governor Pat McCrory vetoed a similar bill last year.

The plan would shorten the amount of time board members serve on the panel and stagger the terms between each member. It would also require people getting unemployment benefits to contact five instead of three potential employers every week.

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

The North Carolina legislature is back in session this week.  The Republican-led body is touting a strong economy and an unemployment rate that hasn’t been this low since the start of the Great Recession.

So, bust out the Moscato! The unemployment rate in North Carolina is 5.8 percent.  Governor Pat McCrory says it hasn’t been that low since 2008.

resume and glasses
Flazingo Photos / Flickr/Creative Commons

The state Commerce Department is behind a major jump in the number of weekly job searches claimants must have to collect benefits.

Dale Folwell is Assistant Commerce Secretary for Employment Security and he supports increasing weekly documented job searches from two to five.

“So we think this will increase the velocity of people getting off the unemployment rolls and looking for work," said Folwell.

Folwell says the current system was confusing for some people.  He says his office decided to cut the confusion and add searches at the same time.

Economic Forecast
www.ncbankers.org

All economic indicators show continued growth across North Carolina in 2015.

Mike Walden is the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Extension Economist at NC State.  He predicts payroll job growth across the state could top 125,000 jobs in 2015 – that's a lot more growth than in 2014. 

Walden says the economy has finally began to “hit a stride” with modest housing recovery and labor market improvements.

Unemployment lines
Wikimedia

The U.S. Department of Labor has waived an anticipated federal unemployment tax increase on North Carolina businesses, as the state continues to pay millions it borrowed from the federal government to pay for state insurance benefits. 

The waiver reduces employers’ tax hike for the 2014 tax year up to $65 per employee, or about $180 million collectively for employers across the state, officials said.

Pelican's Snoball
Leoneda Inge

Economists and politicians say it’s becoming easier for most adults to get a job these days. But if you are a “young” adult, your story may be different.

Years into the economic recovery, there are still a lot of unemployed and underemployed people, which is slowing the recovery for young adults.

And in North Carolina, the jobless rate for that group is especially high. 

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.

Bureau of IIP, flickr.com / Flickr/Creative Commons

When you go into a job interview, you’re being judged on so many different things - far more than your knowledge of the industry. Many employers asses how you dress, your body language, how enthusiastic you are. For some women a new Duke study shows that even your voice may play a factor. 

North Carolina Legislative building
NC General Assembly

  Moral Monday protests resume as the General Assembly's short session continues. Protestors visit individual lawmakers today to lobby for Medicaid expansion, unemployment insurance and education reform. Last week, the North Carolina Senate approved a fracking bill and tentatively approved a regulatory overhaul. Both pieces of legislation may face challenges in the House. 

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

Numbers from the state Commerce Department show the unemployment rate fell all across the state during the past year.  But analysts say the economic recovery is still modest.

Who has the lowest unemployment in the state? Chatham and Orange Counties - 4.6 percent. 

Where is the highest jobless rate? Graham County - 12.7 percent.

While the jobless rate fell in all 100 counties, the number of people who reported having jobs decreased in about one-third of the counties.

Unemployment lines
Wikimedia

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest figures on the state’s unemployed. But do these numbers paint an accurate picture of the jobs economy in North Carolina?

Host Frank Stasio talks to Triangle Business Journal Reporter Jason deBruyn about the latest statistics and the ways to count the unemployed. His recent coverage includes:

Men stand in line to receive free coffee and donuts for the unemployed - depression-era photograph
wikimedia commons

  The state's unemployment rate is on a downward trend, but the meaning of those numbers is the subject of debate. Some believe it is a sign of a comeback while others believe it is skewed statistic. Debate over unemployment extends to the federal level, as an unemployment bill with a North Carolina-specific provision struggles to reach a vote in the United States House. 

A picture of the newspaper want ads
Creative Commons / http://mycareerinfo.ca

The state unemployment rate is dropping, but the labor force is also shrinking. 

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reports unemployment fell from 8.8 percent in January 2013 to 6.7 percent in January 2014.  But that number doesn't include people who have stopped looking for work.  The state's labor force is made up of people who work or are trying to find jobs, and that pool shrank by more than 60,000 people during the year. 

North Carolina State University Economist Michael Walden said 2013 was somewhat of a disappointing year for job growth.

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.

DES Office
Leoneda Inge

For ten years, North Carolina attorneys have had access to a daily list of unemployed workers who are scheduled for appeal hearings.   Most of these people had their unemployment claims denied and are appealing the decision. 

But last week, the Division of Employment Security said it would no longer provide a daily list of these hearings.  A Durham attorney is fighting back and has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Commerce and its employment division.

Thousands marched to the North Carolina State Capitol building on Saturday.
James Willamor via Flickr

Organizers of Saturday’s moral march on Raleigh plan to use the event’s momentum to mobilize voters, they say. The event follows last year’s weekly Moral Monday rallies that criticized laws passed by North Carolina’s Republican-led government.  The new focus is on the fall elections.

Protesters crowd the capitol for a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

Thousands of people are expected to march in downtown Raleigh on Saturday, some coming in buses from other states, to call on North Carolina legislators to reverse laws they’ve signed over the last year including requiring voters to show IDs in polling stations, reducing unemployment benefits and blocking Medicaid expansion.

Image of NC General Assembly where lawmakers are considering two controversial bills.
Credit NC General Assembly

It's not clear whether Governor Pat McCrory would make extended unemployment benefits available to North Carolinians if Congress passes a law that would revive them nationwide. Governor McCrory would have final say on whether to accept those benefits.

A bill being debated in the U.S. Senate would give a three-month extension to those who've been unemployed for months. At a state legislative meeting, Democratic Representative Paul Tine of Kitty Hawk said he knows many of his constituents need help.

Jobs
Thinglass / Shutterstock.com

The Economic Outlook for the Triangle continues to outpace the rest of the state.

The combined jobless rate for the Raleigh-Durham-Cary statistical area is 5.5 percent, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce.  (By comparison, one year ago, the unemployment rate was almost two points higher. )

Here's the breakdown from N.C. State Economist Mike Walden. He expects final numbers will show the following:

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, flanked by state Rep. Rosa Gill (D-Wake) and state Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake)
Jorge Valencia

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said on Monday that she’s pushing to make long-term unemployed people in North Carolina eligible again for federal emergency unemployment benefits.

Hagan, a Democrat, introduced a provision for a possible extension of nationwide unemployment benefits that would make North Carolina eligible again, she said. The state was disqualified from Emergency Unemployment Compensation last year after the Republican-led General Assembly reduced benefits at the state level.

Unemployment Rate
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In the never ending story that is "so-so" economic news, North Carolina's unemployment rate took a sharp drop in November, but that doesn't necessarily mean there are more people employed.

Here are the numbers up front:

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