MEDIA RELEASE: North Carolina's unemployment rate drops for seventh straight month

 North Carolina's unemployment rate drops for seventh straight month

To sustain recovery, policymakers must directly support private sector hiring, budget analyst says

 

RALEIGH (Oct. 22, 2010) – North Carolina's unemployment rate fell for the seventh straight month in September.

 

Plus, for the first time since March 2008, the state's jobless rate was not higher than the national average, matching the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 9.6 percent in September. August's rate was 9.7 percent.

 

While the drop in joblessness is good news for North Carolina, a budget analyst says, policymakers need to do more to create jobs. At least 13,000 jobs must be created each month if North Carolina is to close the gap between the growing labor force and available jobs by 2015.

The positive job growth numbers this month are an important improvement,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota of the NC Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center. “It will also be important to ensure that the jobs created are good jobs that meet a living wage standard. Helping workers is the best way to sustain and strengthen the economic recovery.”

North Carolina created more than 10,000 new jobs in non-farm industry sectors during September. Since September 2009, the state's economy has created more than 50,000 new jobs. North Carolina's job creation over the last year has been among the nation's best. It has created more jobs than any state but Texas, which has created 150,000 jobs.

Job growth occurred in numerous sectors. Financial activities, leisure and hospitality services and trade, transportation and utilities saw gains this month.

Another positive note in today’s numbers: manufacturing hours remained steady from August to September.

The decline in the labor force again this month – 13,000 North Carolinians left the labor force – is cause for some concern, Sirota said. Since the beginning of the recession, North Carolina’s labor force has decreased 1.6 percent while the nation’s grew slightly by 0.2 percent.

 “As workers spend more time unemployed and face ongoing challenges in the labor market due to the lack of jobs, they are more likely to leave the labor force,” said Sirota. “This undermines the economy's full potential. Lawmakers should support the positive job creation trend we have seen this month through policies that directly encourage private sector employers to hire.”

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, alexandra@ncjustice.org; Jeff Shaw, director of communications, 503.551.3615, jeff@ncjustice.org