RALEIGH (April 6, 2016) — Local labor market conditions are falling short of delivering jobs to everyone who wants to work and holding back many communities from a full recovery, as shown by data released today by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Unemployment is higher than the state average in nearly two-thirds of North Carolina counties, and 78 counties still have more people looking for work than before the Great Recession. Unfortunately, the state’s current unemployment system is ineffective in supporting jobless workers and their communities.

Unemployment insurance is a critical tool for ensuring that those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own have temporary wage replacement while they look for work. In the past, it provided opportunities for skills training for new careers through specific funding. But today, the system falls short of serving its core role of supporting jobless workers and ensuring that communities have a foundation of economic activity through the basic purchases that are maintained through unemployment insurance.

“Current unemployment law fails to recognize that many communities are really struggling,” said Patrick McHugh, a policy analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “It harms the majority of communities where it’s still very hard to find a job.”

The Budget & Tax Center provides summaries of each county’s current labor market data, and how each county has fared since the start of the recession.

The NC Justice Center will also be hosting a press event on our state’s unemployment system tomorrow, Thursday, April 7, at 11:00 a.m. at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick McHugh, patrick.mchugh@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2183; Julia Hawes, Julia@ncjustice.org, 919.863.2406.