State workers contribute to surge in jobless

Posted August 19, 2011

— With North Carolina’s unemployment rate hovering around the 10 percent mark, the Raleigh Employment Security Commission office stays busy. More people are out of work in North Carolina – 10.1 percent – than that national average, which is a full point lower.

A large chunk of those folks are former state employees who lost their jobs to government belt-tightening. More than 11,000 public sector jobs have been cut in recent months, according to the ESC.

While thousands lost their jobs when the state budget passed July 1, many agencies have been letting jobs go unfilled for months in anticipation of the cuts, said Margaret Jordan with the Office of State Personnel.

"Not only are state employees losing their jobs due to a reduction in force, but those jobs are no longer available because of the budget cuts," she said.

State workers make up newly unemployed State workers make up newly unemployed

Public sector jobs have a reputation for security. In the past, when state workers were cut from one place, they would have priority if they applied for another state job. Now, there are so many people out of work that the state opened an Employees Career Transition Center to help laid-off workers find non-government jobs.

Jordan said the state offers resume services and helps the jobless set up interviews.

Jobless rate at annual high 

The last time the rate was in double digits was 10 percent last September. The jobless rate last July was 10.3 percent.

The private sector did add 6,900 jobs in July, the ESC said. Leading the way were professional and business services (+ 3,600), trade, transportation and utilities (+1,900) and manufacturing (+1,300).

However, the financial services sector shed 1,500 jobs.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits increased by 4,250 from June to 60,223. Of that total, 46 percent expect to be recalled to work.

Unemployment benefits were paid to 113,993, up 5,639 from June.

Gov. Bev Perdue issued a statement Friday blaming the rising unemployment rate on the budget enacted by the Republican-led state legislature. 

“The severe cuts to education, including teacher positions, inflicted by the Republican legislature are taking their toll on our classrooms and our workforce," she said. "Thousands of education jobs have been cut, and these lost jobs are a major factor in pushing up the unemployment rate."


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  • Rebelyell55 Aug 22, 2011

    Alright, This story is so mis leading it ain't funny. I've seen the numbers posted by another news station. The break down of state workers was only around 300, very small due to the numbers that need to be cut. The local goverments, county, city etc. was the thousands of public workers laid off. Most county and city cut their budgets too and the budget cut from the state directly impact the county and cities. We still need more cuts in the state goverment. Starting with the top.

  • storchheim Aug 19, 2011

    "thousands of state workers could have kept their jobs and returned something back to the economy. Instead they now sit at home and collect unemployment insurance. - wildervb"

    Or some could have been fired for cause long ago, lowered the tax burden, and been unable to collect unemployment insurance. Win-win. But that would have required effort on management's part.

  • storchheim Aug 19, 2011

    RebelYell55 at 7:00 pm - thanks for saying that, and thanks too for your kind wishes. You're correct about the "labor laws" aspect too, but I was running out of space! Why not hire emps that are younger, cheaper, and easier to control either because they're starting/supporting families, or as you so correctly pointed out, they don't know their rights (such as they are).

  • storchheim Aug 19, 2011

    "How do you figure they will teach better with a larger class size without the help needed for that class size....? - Lambeau South"

    What size were the classes - I believe it was 25-30 pupils? My grade school class was at least 40-50 and there were no TA's. But our parents had fed us, taught us the basics of book learning and social behavior, and we didn't dream of bringing knives to school or dressing like streetwalkers. We didn't call violence "acting out", we didn't call disrespect "Oppositional Defiance Disorder", and we didn't call laziness ADHD. You get the idea. We had some class clowns and troublemakers, but they were called out and disciplined in front of the class from time to time. Embarrassment's a great motivator. Speaking of which, achievement was rewarded and not everyone won the spelling bee.

    Don't counter that the parents can't feed and socialize their kids. If that's true, make them wards of the state and cut off all the parents' welfare permanently.

  • The Fox Aug 19, 2011

    Expect more State layoffs in Dec 2011, July 2012, and Dec 2012. The unemployment numbers will only get worse.

  • Nancy Aug 19, 2011

    "Truly WHO "lives within their means" among us? Do YOU own your own home?

    It's an ideal that just doesn't exist in reality for most all." - mako

    Those who live within their means do not depend on government programs to pay for day to day expenses.

    Those who live within their means plan for retirement and for unexpected expenses so they don't lose what they have, not expecting someone to pay their way because something went south.

    It's a common problem now, people living day to day, as if tomorrow won't come and what comes with it won't put them on the street.

  • BPractical Aug 19, 2011

    Mako - You would agree that some services need to be done and that takes money. And if you don't have the money, you need to TAX to get it.
    Anyhow, when times get lean, you don't cut services you need, you cut ones you can live without."

    Agreed. You cut the ones you can live without. However, you live within your means. The fact the state put in temporary tax increases, taxes triggered by gas prices, increases in registration costs, cigarettes, says they don't live within their means.
    Private industry starts with what they can afford, then they evaluate the number of staff that is essential. The rest are on the block and cut to make that budget, period. NC increased (state and local) in employees from 629k in 2007 to 655k in 2011. That is not responsible...

  • wildervb Aug 19, 2011

    Well this is certainly to be expected. You layoff thousands of workers and the unemployment rate goes up.

    The voters of NC voted in a conservative legislature they got what they wanted.

    Personally I would have kept the 1 cent additional sales tax, thousands of state workers could have kept their jobs and returned something back to the economy. Instead they now sit at home and collect unemployment insurance.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 19, 2011

    August 19, 2011 6:19 p.m.
    Thanks for your post. It not the first time we've heard this but it still people like you who arent' afraid to speak the truth. Bless ya and hope all goes well for you.

  • Nancy Aug 19, 2011

    "You would agree that some services need to be done and that takes money. And if you don't have the money, you need to TAX to get it." - big difference in basic services being met and then you look at the pie chart of where money is spent in our state and tell me again we're funding what governments original purpose was?

    I think not.

    Sure, we're supposed to be taxed to pay for services that benefit all - that's not what I see in the budget.

    Further, there is a 20% increase in public sector jobs, do you honestly believe that it had to grow that much in 10 years?

    What jobs were added to create that 20% increase?