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A new release from the NC Justice Center:

A boom in low-wage jobs is the leading factor contributing to the drop in unemployment across most of the state’s metros, according to today’s jobs report from the N.C. Division of Employment Security.

Although unemployment has dropped in all 14 of North Carolina’s metro areas over the last year, most of these job growth has occurred in the lowest wage sector—Leisure & Hospitality. Unfortunately, this industry pays $8.30 an hour, more than $12 below the statewide average—suggesting that most metros are seeing the biggest growth opportunities in ultra-low wage jobs.

Over the last year, Leisure & Hospitality was either the fastest or second fastest growing industry in 10 metro areas. These metros include:

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced a final rule today extending the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections to most of the nation’s direct care workers who provide essential home care assistance to elderly people and people with illnesses, injuries, or disabilities. This change, effective January 1, 2015, ensures that nearly two million workers – such as home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants – will have the same basic protections already provided to most U.S. workers. It will help ensure that individuals and families who rely on the assistance of direct care workers have access to consistent and high quality care from a stable and increasingly professional workforce.

To help families, other employers, and workers understand the new requirements, the Department will be hosting five public webinars during the month of October and has created a new, dedicated web portal at dol.gov/whd/homecare with fact sheets, FAQs, interactive web tools, and other materials.

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Public Policy PollingThere’s been a fair amount of buzz about Gov. McCrory’s plummeting poll numbers of late. As Under the Dome noted this morning, Public Policy Polling finds that the approval rate is now all the way down to 35%.

There’s been less reporting, however, about some interesting issue-based results in the new PPP poll. As Kevin Rogers of Action NC tweeted this morning, the poll finds, among other things, strong (better than two-to-one)  support for raising the minimum wage to $10/hr. It also finds overwhelming opposition to the salaries bestowed upon Gov. McCrory’s former campaign staffers (8% “For,” 73% “Against”) and plurality opposition of 39% to 34% to a new casino in Cleveland County.

Read all the results by clicking here.

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Lunch sandwich

TGIF indeed. Well, it’s been another fun week in the North Carolina policy world. And as usual, one of the best end-of-the-week wrap-ups can be found in Friday Follies. Today, Chris Fitzsimon has the latest on the conclusion to Gov. McCrory’s terrible, no good, very bad month and, from the looks of things, what promises to be a lousy start to September as well.

Meanwhile, all the hubbub and protests of the last few weeks over the General Assembly’s disastrous 2013 legislative session appear to be stirring at least the beginnings of a smidgen of regret and remorse. Ann Doss Helms of the Charlotte Observer reports that two GOP state reps from Mecklenburg are making noises about at least softening the impact of the absurd decision to do away with the pay bump that teachers have long received for obtaining a master’s degree. There’s no indication, however, that conservative lawmakers have any interest in reversing their decision as they should.

And speaking of people admitting errors, Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog has a rare sighting to report: a direct and sincere apology from Fox Noise blowhard Bill O’Reilly. Read More

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In addition to the mushrooming movement of fast food workers that is generating protests and strikes around the state today, the good folks at Fair Share will be calling on Congresswoman Renee Ellmers today with a petition calling for immigration reform. This is from the announcement:

“Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform for a fair economy will deliver more than 1,000 petition signatures to U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers Thursday, demanding that the congresswoman call for an up-or-down House vote. The action comes as proponents of immigration reform highlight the issue in North Carolina and across the country as members of Congress prepare to head back to Washington, D.C. in less than two weeks.

‘When we bring 11.5 million aspiring Americans out of the shadows and allow them to join the legal, regulated workforce, Read More