State unemployment rate moves in the wrong direction
A mixed bag of economic news Friday from the N.C. Employment Security Commission. The agency reports that while the private sector added jobs last month, losses in the public sector lifted the state’s jobless rate to 10.5%.
Over the course of the last 12 months, private sector jobs have increased by 28,400, but state and local governments have lost 18,700 positions.
“Compared to December 2007, North Carolina has fewer payroll jobs in every major industry group except for educational and health services and leisure and hospitality services,” noted analyst John Quinterno with South by North Strategies. “While public-sector employment had been a source of strength earlier in the downturn, it now is weighing on growth. Since February 2010, local government employment has fallen by 4.7 percent with state government employment declining by 5.3 percent.”
The news comes one day after the U.S. Senate failed to advance a key piece of President Obama’s jobs plan that would send cash-strapped states $35 billion in additional funding to help keep teachers, police and firefighters on the job, preventing more public-sector layoffs.
The vote was 50-50, ten votes shy of the number needed for lawmakers to begin debate on the President’s jobs proposal.
Democrats contend the bill would create or save nearly 400,000 jobs for educators and emergency responders. Republicans say the plan unfairly taxes those with incomes of more than $1 million.