MEDIA RELEASE: Unemployment up for third consecutive month

MEDIA RELEASE: Unemployment up for third consecutive month
Government layoffs big part of weakening labor market

RALEIGH (August 19, 2011) – North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased to 10.1% in July, driven almost entirely by layoffs from state and local government, data released today by the Employment Security Commission shows.

“With 3 consecutive months of increasing unemployment, North Carolina’s economic recovery is stalling,” said Allan Freyer, an analyst with the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, “and ongoing public sector layoffs are clearly the driving factor in holding back the state’s ability to create new jobs.”

For the second straight month, public sector layoffs completely wiped out any job gains generated in the private sector. State and local governments shed a total of 12,100 jobs, while the private sector only created 6,900 jobs and the military created another 1,000 jobs. As a result, the state’s total employment dropped by 4,100.

“Given that the layoffs contained in the state budget have yet to fully kick in, these disturbing unemployment numbers are only a preview of the damage yet to come for the state’s labor market,” said Freyer. “It’s hard to see how further government layoffs will decrease the unemployment rate.”

County-level unemployment numbers will be available next Friday, August 26.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, director, NC Budget & Tax Center, alexandra@ncjustice.org, 919.861.1468; Allan Freyer, Public Policy Analyst, Budget & Tax Center, allan@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2151.