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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:

NC Budget and Tax Center

North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.7 percent in August, according to the latest jobs report from the Division of Employment Security, but this “improvement” is largely the result of a mathematical quirk, and masks deeper, long-term problems in the state’s labor market—most notably, the lack of available jobs for unemployed workers.

While the number of unemployed people dropped last month, this is only because jobless workers gave up on their job search and dropped out of the labor force, not because they actually found jobs. In August, Read More

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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).

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