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New jobs data shows ‘underwhelming’ growth, declining labor force

jobs adFigures released Monday by the Division of Employment Security show North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March falling to 6.3 percent, a slight improvement from February.

But analysts with the N.C. Budget and Tax Center note that while the state has seen its payrolls expand by 65,000 new jobs (1.6 percent) since March 2013, this represents slower job growth than the 1.7 percent rate of job creation in the nation as a whole. Here’s more from the BTC:

Not only did North Carolina underperform the rest of the nation over the last year, the state’s performance in 2013 stacks up poorly compared to its performance in previous years. Over the past year (March 2013-2014), the state created 200 fewer jobs than it did over the same period the year before (March 2012-2013), and only created 100 more jobs than were created from March 2011-2012—hardly signs of an increasing job creation trajectory.

“Given the massive jobs losses the state experienced in the Great Recession, the state needs to be creating jobs at a significantly faster rate than the rest of the nation in order to achieve escape velocity for a robust, long-term recovery in the labor market,” said Allan Freyer, a policy analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “Unfortunately, far from being a banner era of job creation, the last year was pretty disappointing from pretty much every angle—slower job growth and a falling labor force are evidence of a lagging overall economy.”

Here’s how economist John Quinterno with South by North Strategies puts the new data into context: North Carolina still has fewer payroll jobs, more unemployed residents, and a higher unemployment rate than it did 6.25 years ago:

Between March 2013 and March 2014, the number of unemployed North Carolina’s fell by 105,637 persons, but 46.8 percent of the decline was attributable to people who left the labor force entirely. If those 49,426 persons were added back to the labor force and considered unemployed, the statewide unemployment rate in March would have equaled 7.3 percent. Even if 50 percent of those individuals were added back to the labor force and considered unemployed, the statewide unemployment rate would have equaled 6.8 percent.

Declines in the statewide labor force participation rate provide additional evidence of a labor market that is not growing rapidly enough to accommodate all those who want and need work. In March, the labor force participation rate held steady at the revised February 2014 figure of 61 percent, which is the lowest monthly figure recorded at any point since 1976. Moreover, the labor force participation rate has fallen steadily since December 2012, when the rate equaled 62.7 percent.

“Despite recent declines in the statewide unemployment rate, labor market conditions in North Carolina remain underwhelming. Look beyond the important yet limited measure of the unemployment rate, and one will see labor market dynamics essentially no different from the sluggish ones that have characterized the past four years.”

One Comment

  1. MusicNewsPolitics

    April 22, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Based on the FACTS above, why is Gov. McCrory only giving unemployed North Carolinians 19 weeks of unemployment and the most you can make now weekly in unemployment benefits is $350. It used to be $525 or $535/week. I am getting $269/week since I was laid off, due to lack of work on Feb. 21. I am thankful I am getting something, but Gov. McCrory knows we can’t live off what we are getting. My mortgage is $908, HOA dues $115, car payment $358, etc., etc., etc. I have worked since I was a teen. I will never be able to retire. I went from 47K/yr + commissions to $10-$15/hr jobs over the last 7yrs. I am thankful for the work I’ve gotten in the past 2 years, but after 7 years of madness trying to find decent jobs, then McCrory cuts unemployment amounts and the number of weeks. I guess he will be happy when we are all living in the streets of NC. This should not be happening. Does he not understand math? My savings are gone and have been for a while. I am about to lose my home and my car needs serious repairs, that I can’t afford. I guess I will live in my car once I lose my home. I am seriously considering leaving the state, but I need money to relocate. This article really sends me through the roof: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/14/nc-gov-cut-unemployment-insurance-to-stop-migration-for-the-very-generous-benefits/ The governor needs to deal with FACTS only, when dealing with our lives and not go by hearsay from his buddies. It is just me and my dog and it is rough and very scary! Also, teachers are leaving the state in droves. I do thank God for family and friends that have been there for me these past 7 years. I have always been independent, got my education, never been in trouble, paid my bills, etc. This madness has got to stop ALL ACROSS AMERICA!!!!