June’s jobs numbers are out for North Carolina, showing that the state has held on to its unemployment rate of 6.4 percent for the second straight month.
The national unemployment rate was 6.1 percent for June.
The North Carolina numbers for June released by N.C. Commerce Department show a much lower unemployment rate than a year ago, when unemployment was at 8.3 percent and one of the highest rates in the nation.
This month’s job report (click here to read) also shows the state’s labor pool is still shrinking, with 8,577 less people working in June than May.
Over the last year, the state’s labor force has shrunk by nearly 12,000, while the ranks of unemployed dropped by about 90,000 people, according to North Carolina job numbers.
That difference (a shrinking labor pool corresponding with a much larger drop in the numbers of the unemployed) has lead some economists to attribute North Carolina’s drop in its official unemployment rate not to a healthy economy, but to large numbers of long-term unemployed people dropping out of the workforce completely  after last year’s cuts to unemployment benefits.
“There is zero evidence that cutting unemployment benefits in North Carolina did anything to spur job growth,” wrote Washington-based economist Dean Baker in an editorial in the News & Observe r earlier this month. “There is much evidence that it led those who saw their benefits end to give up looking for work and to drop out of the labor force.
Gov. Pat McCrory and state legislative leaders disagree, and say those changes to the unemployment system and North Carolina’s subsequent rejection of federally-funded long-term unemployment help has put North Carolina in a better economic position.
“Yes, there are some people who probably took jobs they didn’t want instead of staying on unemployment,” McCrory said earlier this week in an interview with Charlotte’s WFAE radio program (discussion begins at 35:00 ).
“By the way, in my career, I’ve taken jobs that I don’t want,” McCrory said. He added, “but it gets you in the door, it gets you working and it gets you off the government payroll.”
Click here  to read the entire release on North Carolina’s jobs report for June.