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Trickledown economic theory and the three years of state budget and tax cuts to which it has given rise continues to work wonders for the North Carolina economy…not.

This just in from the state Department of Commerce:

“RALEIGH — The state’s seasonally adjusted July unemployment rate was 8.9 percent, increasing 0.1 of a percentage point from June’s revised rate. The national rate declined to 7.4 percent from June’s 7.6 percent.”

Of course, in fairness, the notion that state policies can have any kind of significant near-term impact on the overall employment rate is as misplaced now as it was when conservatives were lambasting the Perdue administration. Save for the actual jobs it creates through public employment, the main impact state leaders can have is on: a) the long-term picture (where investments in education and infrastructure are key) and b) easing the suffering of the jobless and their families.

That said, the performance of conservative state leaders in both of these latter two areas has been truly abysmal so prospects seem likely to remain relatively dim for the foreseeable future.

 

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Many of you had read last week about Yvette Jocelyn and her son Antonio, a Cary mother and son we profiled in an article we ran about the long-term unemployed.

Jocelyn had been one of the long-term unemployed who had her benefits cut off when the state moved to a new unemployment system July 1. The changes, which cuts the length of time and amount that unemployed workers receive, also made North Carolina ineligible for federal benefits for 70,000-plus long-term unemployed workers.

Yvette Jocelyn and her son, Antonio

A single mother, Jocelyn and her son Antonio were facing the possibility of becoming homeless.

Here’s the good news – she was offered a full-time job yesterday in her field, doing home visits with the mentally ill in the community.

The job offer came on the same day Yvette was trying to figure out how to pay the August rent for her Cary home, cover utility bills and buy food with only a few hundred dollars to her name.

Her new job will begin mid-month, and she’s hoping to find ways to help tide her over until then.

“I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Jocelyn said. She was able to sleep last night for the first time in months without walking up from stress and panic.

She said that she had been looking for a job just as hard before her benefits ran out, but being without the benefits pushed her into an area of despair she hadn’t felt before.

“It felt like there was nothing I could do, you can’t make someone hire you,” Jocelyn said. “If they (the legislature) had not passed the bill and they would have continued the benefits, it would have given me padding and a little hope.”

Congrats to Yvettte and Antonio, and best of luck to them in the future.

We still want to hear from those affected by the July 1 cut-off of unemployment benefits. If you are willing to share your story, please contact reporter Sarah Ovaska at sarah@ncpolicywatch.com or(919) 861-1463.

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The statewide unemployment rate is holding steady at 8.8 percent, despite a statewide loss of 11,000 jobs over the last month.

The June employment data was released today by the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis division.  It was the same as last month, and down from the 9.6 percent unemployment the state battled this time last year.

Today’s release of June data make the third month in a row the state has come in under 9 percent. Click here for more detailed data from the state commerce agency about the unemployment figures.

But it’s far from a rosy picture, with 10,958 less people employed this month over last month and an estimated 10,000 people no longer in the labor force (meaning those who are no longer actively looking for jobs).

Read More

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Gov. Pat McCrory seems to be repeating his mistakes, at least when it comes to explaining how and why 70,000 North Carolinians were cut-off from federal unemployment benefits on July 1.

The Republican governor told a Wilson Times reporter Wednesday that Democratic President Barack Obama could have made an exception for North Carolina and prevented the July 1 cut off, a not-so-accurate take on the situation that the governor gave  to reporters two days prior. (This was the same interview where McCrory said he routinely mingles with Moral Monday protesters though there have not been any reported sightings of him at the high-profile events.)

The problem is, McCrory’s blame on federal officials for North Carolina’s decision to cut off benefits for 70,000 unemployed residents isn’t accurate (as my colleague Chris Fitzsimon pointed out in his weekly Friday Follies column). It’s also not the first time McCrory was corrected about his mistake, after he made similar comments at a press conference Monday and his spokesperson acknowledged those mistakes that day.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of who said what, who reported what, and when. Read More

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In case you missed it last Friday, Sabine Schoenbach had a great essay published in Raleigh’s News & Observer on the unemployment insurance debacle. Here’s an excerpt:

“Those going over the cliff are jobseekers, first and foremost, but the job market remains grim. Despite a small improvement in the state’s unemployment rate over the last three months, jobseekers are looking for work in a state with a record number of unemployed workers who have been out of work for a record length of time. There are 4 million unemployed workers chasing just 1.4 million jobs in the entire U.S. South.”

Read the entire piece by clicking here.