The How to Build an Economy that Works for All series aims to establish policy priorities and proposals that policymakers can advance and North Carolinians can support throughout the election season and the start of the legislative session in January 2017.

While North Carolina’s unemployment rate has dropped in recent years, there are still fewer employed people as a share of the population as there were before the recession started and, in many communities, there are more jobless workers than there are job openings.

The lack of good, quality jobs for North Carolina’s growing workforce is a serious and pervasive problem. It hurts jobless workers as they seek to maintain their skill set and stay connected to the labor force. It hurts their families as they struggle to make ends meet without earnings and are forced to draw down savings meant to secure their retirement and future generations’ mobility. And it hurts the broader community and economy because fewer workers spending their earnings reduces the demand for goods and services.

In order to help boost our economy, North Carolina’s policymakers must prop up jobless workers as they look for jobs, including providing support so that workers stay connected to the labor market and skills training for new careers.