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employmentState officials report that North Carolina gained of 17,200 jobs in October, dropping the state’s overall jobless rate to 6.3 percent.

Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement Friday saying with those gains North Carolina has now recovered all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession.

Economists acknowledge that the number of payroll jobs are above pre-recession level, but that’s only half of the story.

According to analyst John Quinterno of South By North Strategies, while North Carolina now has slightly more jobs than it did in December 2007 when the recession began, the state also has 28.4 percent more unemployed residents than it did almost seven years ago.

Here’s how Quinterno’s group explains the data:

Note that the return of North Carolina’s payroll size to the pre-recession level does not mean that the state’s labor market has recovered. Over the past 6.75 years, North Carolina has needed not only to replace the jobs lost during the recession, but also to add jobs to keep pace with the growth of the working-age population.

By one estimate, North Carolina still is 441,000 payroll jobs short of the number it should have added since late 2007 to accommodate the 11 percent rate of population growth that has occurred since then. At the current pace of net job growth, it would take another 72 months to fill that gap, holding all else equal.

“Although North Carolina has experienced job growth in 2014, the pace of growth has been modest,” noted Quinterno. “Over the first 10 months of the year, payroll employment in North Carolina expanded by 1.9 percent. The comparable rate in 2013 was 2 percent, and in 2012, the comparable rate was 1.6 percent. These rates are consistent with a sluggish recovery.”

In contrast to the payroll data, the household data recorded October pointed to a labor market that has yet to recover the ground lost during the recession. Last month, the statewide unemployment rate dipped to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent, while the number of unemployed individuals fell by 16,685 (-5.4 percent). At the same time, the number of employed North Carolinians rose (+17,508, +0.4 percent). And the size of the labor force essentially held steady at 4.6 million persons.

Over the year, the statewide unemployment rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, dropping to 6.7 percent from 7.5 percent, with the number of unemployed North Carolinians decreasing by 54,551 persons (-15.7 percent). However, 47.8 percent of the decline was attributable to people who left the labor force entirely rather than to those who became employed. If those 26,104 leavers from the labor force were added back and considered unemployed, the statewide unemployment rate in October would have equaled 6.8 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 6.6 percent.

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President Barack Obama’s plan to sidestep Congress and order his own action on immigration,  sparing as many as 5 million people from deportation is drawing a mixed response:

mc-1“With this latest executive order, President Obama is making new law by bypassing Congress. I’m already discussing with other governors a long-term solution to immigration reform as well as an appropriate legal response to this unconstitutional overreach of the White House. North Carolina is not a border state, but it’s impacted by illegal immigration. I’m extremely concerned about the potentially negative impact of this executive order on our public schools, health services and public safety.”
Governor Pat McCrory

 

mary-meg-mccarthy“We are relieved and grateful that President Obama finally has kept his promise to address our broken immigration system and relieve the fear of permanent exile and family separation that has plagued immigrants and American families. With this temporary relief, parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children, as well as adults who have been raised and educated in our communities, will have the opportunity to pursue their educations, open businesses, advance their careers, and continue to contribute to our cities and economy. The president’s plan will help restore some stability to American families, neighborhoods, schools, and businesses that have struggled in recent years as the government has detained and deported people at a record pace. While the president’s program is a step in the right direction, we regret that it still excludes many parents and other individuals who have deep roots in U.S. communities. We will continue to encourage Congress to fulfill its obligation to create a permanent solution that makes our immigration system more humane and functional for everyone.”
National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy

 

burr“Tonight the President announced his intention to pursue amnesty for illegal immigrants through executive action. This decision, counter to his own statements over the last few years, represents the very height of Presidential arrogance and signifies a dangerous shift from a nation of laws to a nation of men. In order to achieve some sort of gain for his political party, the President risks damage to the rule of law in our nation, but he also threatens a more immediate impact on those here legally, those following the legal process to gain entry into our country, and others struggling to find work in a fragile economy. Our border states will also be further stressed as they deal with another, almost certain surge of additional illegal immigrants looking for similar treatment from this White House.”
– U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)

 Price“After two years of failed promises and delay tactics from Speaker Boehner and House Republicans, the time has come for decisive action to fix our broken immigration system. The cost of inaction has simply become too great. Republicans who have criticized the administration would be wise to consult their history books. Every President since Eisenhower has exercised Executive authority on immigration, including five Republicans. Arguing that President Obama’s actions are unconstitutional is both false and disingenuous.

“That said, the President’s action is limited in scope and should not be interpreted as a substitute for congressional action – in fact, the administration has strongly encouraged the House and Senate to pass a comprehensive reform bill that would supersede the Executive Order and deal with the full range of immigration challenges. I hope my Republican colleagues will heed this call.

“We must always remember that we are a nation of immigrants, and I commend the President for using his Executive authority to correct broken immigration policies that have persisted for too long and are doing our country great damage. My hope is that this action will at long last break the partisan logjam and allow for real progress on comprehensive immigration reform.” – Congressman David Price (D-NC)

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Andre Peek (L) and Tammy Covil (R) serve on the Academic Standards Review Commission.

Andre Peek (L) and Tammy Covil (R) serve on the Academic Standards Review Commission.

The state commission charged with reviewing and replacing the Common Core State Standards seems to be losing some of its momentum. Meeting for the third time since their appointment, commission members acknowledged Monday that without a dedicated budget it would be near impossible to bring in experts and accurately assess what benchmarks students should master.

The Raleigh News & Observer noted the frustration of Governor McCrory’s own appointment to the Academic Standards Review Commission:

“We are running out of time,” said Co-Chairman Andre Peek, an IBM executive from Raleigh. “This needs to be solved soon. We need money to bring in professionals.”

And as WUNC’s Reema Khrias reports, Peek’s not the only one annoyed by the current state of affairs:

“The lack of funding sort of communicates – to me – that there are very low expectations from this commission. If we can’t get some funding, most of the changes we’ll be recommending will be anecdotal,” said Tammy Covil, a New Hanover County school board member.

Sen. Jerry Tillman, a key proponent of repealing the Common Core standards, plans to meet with top legislative leaders in the coming weeks to try to line-up resources for the panel.

The Academic Standards Review Commission holds its final meeting of the year on December 15th.

Click here to read the legislation that calls on North Carolina to replace Common Core and establish its own robust standards that must be “age-level and developmentally appropriate.”

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If you missed last week’s Fitzsimon File on North Carolina’s looming teacher shortage, make time this week to listen to Policy Watch’s recent radio interview with Keith Poston, executive director of the Public School Forum.  Poston discusses North Carolina’s troubling teacher turnover rate and how to retain our best educators.

For a preview of Poston’s radio interview click below. Download the podcast of the full interview here.

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Tillis_McCrory_Berger-400Governor Pat McCrory and two of his predecessors have filed suit against the General Assembly, arguing that their creation of various commissions usurps the authority of the governor’s office and violates the separation of powers clause in the North Carolina Constitution.

“These commissions make government less accountable to the will of the people. Citizens and voters must be able to distinguish which branch of government is responsible for making the laws and which branch is responsible for carrying out the laws and operating state government,” Governor McCrory said in a press release.

McCrory said recent examples of unaccountable commissions include the proposed Board of the Department of Medical Benefits, the proposed Social Services Commission and North Carolina’s Coal Ash Commission, which will hold its first meeting Friday.

The governor says while the case winds its way through the court system, the legal dispute will not hinder his ‘shared agenda’ with the General Assembly.

Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis responded by saying Governor McCrory’s arguments were flawed from both a legal and public policy perspective.

Here’s the joint statement released by the two legislative leaders:

“Today the governor sued to stop independent boards created in two bills – one he chose to sign and another he allowed to become law. He vetoed neither,” said Berger and Tillis. “The General Assembly’s right to appoint members to independent boards – which are beholden to no single appointing authority and provide truly independent oversight – is far from new and has long been upheld by our state Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the governor’s costly and time-consuming lawsuit to ensure he picks the majority of regulatory board members ignores history and detracts from their important work.”

You can read the 18-page complaint here.