NC unemployment rate hits 10.4 percent -- highest in 14 months

Posted September 16, 2011

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— North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased to 10.4 percent in August, the highest rate in more than a year.

The state Employment Service Commission reported Friday that the number of non-farm jobs increased by 16,500, but the ranks of the unemployed grew by 11,747, to 468,140.

The jobless rate is the highest since 10.5 percent in June 2010. The rate in July was 10.1 percent.

Nationally, unemployment stands at 9.1 percent, and the August figures mark the first time North Carolina's jobless rate is more than a percentage point above the nationwide rate.

Political parties were quick to blame each other for the rising unemployment rate.

"North Carolina Democrats, such as Gov. Perdue, have refused to take public stances or action on key issues related to economic expansion in the state," the state Republican Party said in a statement.

"This increase in unemployment is a direct result of the job-killing Republican budget that took effect in June," state Democratic Party Chairman David Parker said in a statement, adding that Republicans promised in June that the job market would improve by September.

Most of the net job increase came in the government sector at 13,600, as many school districts opened for a new academic year.

“We are seeing gains in employment,” ESC spokesman Larry Parker said. “They are not large gains, but we have added more than 31,000 jobs since January.”

Worker generic, employment generic Some business sectors starting to hire again

The growth in government payrolls came despite state budget cuts that took effect in July.

Parker said the surge in government payrolls was “similar but somewhat smaller” than in the past. Overall, government payrolls are down 15,000 from August of last year.

The size of the state’s labor force also decreased by nearly 2,700, as more people dropped out of the work force and were no longer seeking employment.

Based on a household survey that counts self-employed and other workers, the number of people holding jobs fell to 4.03 million from 4.045 million in July.

The private sector areas hiring the most in North Carolina last month were professional and business services and education and health services.

"Companies are hiring," said Rod Frankel, who owns a staffing company in Raleigh. "It is very difficult to compare the state unemployment numbers with what's going on here (in the Triangle). It's said over and over again that we live in a bubble, that we live in a vacuum, but it's entirely true."

Frankel said companies had been hiring temporary workers, but in the last six months, he's seen the number of direct hires increase.

"I think companies are now willing to spend some of that cash they may have been sitting on," he said.

Chas Scarantino, who co-founded Magnus Health, a software company that offers a web-based program to schools so they can manage students' medical records, said he has hired four employees in the past three weeks, increasing his staff by more than 25 percent.

"It's an exciting time for us," Scarantino said, noting that the company has grown from its first sale in February 2009 to now working with 900 schools.

The non-farm payroll number is based on a separate survey of businesses. That survey showed an increase of just under 3,000 jobs and a jump of 16,500 in the total non-farm workforce, to 3.88 million.


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  • BrightLight Sep 16, 2011

    Didn't you people hear Mr. Obama when he came to our state. Don't worry. He can fix it! Yes we can't! Yes we can't!

  • westernwake1 Sep 16, 2011

    @mrr2821 "In February, Perdue appointed Bob Etheridge to head the state’s Office of Economic Recovery and Investment to oversee the use of federal stimulus funds in North Carolina. With the results we now see with unemployment, who will replace Bob?"

    The state’s Office of Economic Recovery and Investment is not about creating jobs - it is about directing the federal stimulus funds to politically connected people. Bob is doing a fine job at this!

  • geosol Sep 16, 2011

    Did the good people of North Carolina vote for LYING REPUBLICANS to spend OUR TAX DOLLARS to work on their far right social agenda!?!?! WOW!!! Sorry for all of you who believed their "jobs, jobs, jobs!!" lie. Its OK, though, we can fix it.

  • westernwake1 Sep 16, 2011

    @mep "I believe it was Bill Gates that started off working on computers in a garage. He had no problems with working hard. Many believe he defeated the century old IBM in terms of innovation."

    In the early days Bill Gates never touched a computer or worked hard. He bought an operating system from another company for $50K, had a programmer update the start page to rename it DOS, and sold it to IBM while maintaining the ownership rights. Bill Gates did not even know how to use the operating system.

    Business Genius - Yes. Technical knowledge - No. Mistreating the people he bought the operating system from - Certainly.

  • jrfergerson Sep 16, 2011

    And big O came here with Biden for a donation - fat chance getting much from NC - and if those who donated to this campaign $5000 dinner he had should be ashamed of themselves for not helping out the needy in NC.

  • westernwake1 Sep 16, 2011

    At this point I think that everyone needs to agree that politicans on both sides of the aisle bear blame for the economy. Both parties contributed to this disaster via policy decisions that favored big business and banks over common sense. The entire environment is driven by PAC money instead of integrity or responsibility to the voters.

    It is also time to come to the conclusuon that the stimulus spending from Washington has been a disaster. The bank bailouts simply propped up the banks so they could continue to make poor decisions and pay out huge executive bonuses. The stimulus spending (QE1 & QE2) simply served to hand money to political contributors and pet projects without creating jobs. Most private firms simnply took the money in, padded their profit margins and executive pay, and then never hired people with the government money.

    Historically the only type of government stimulus that works to increase jobs is hiring directly for large public works projects.

  • davidgnews Sep 16, 2011

    C'mon, we can do better than that - it will probably be 12% before it gets better, and maybe people will get more 'restless' since they aren't outraged enough over do-nothing government.

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 16, 2011

    They use YOUR TAX DOLLARS to push their far right social agenda.
    GOLO member since December 29, 2010
    September 16, 2011 6:31 p.m.
    I'll admitt I'm alway confused by polictical comment, I thought the Rep. were the far left? Now they are far right?
    They were voted in to do actually what they did, stop govement waste, and in this case, yes it mean that some people would lose their jobs, even Gov. B plan had lay off in it. So blaming either party, (while is your right to do so) seem a little silly to me. The bottom line was that goverment is wasting money (both party claim this) and we either raise taxes, (more money to waste) or we live within the mean of what the state is taking in. I don't want my taxes raised. Anyone that don't beleive there is waste of tax payer money I like see them voice that here.

  • WooHoo2You Sep 16, 2011

    nearly a TRILLION dollars wasted on a stimulus that was suppose to offer us a "summer of recovery"-Mep

    Since we are using the word "nearly" nearly half a trillion of that was tax cuts NOT money spent. But facts hurt you spin fest....

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 16, 2011

    Plenty Coups
    GOLO member since July 17, 2007
    Yep, they doing a good job protecting our tax dollars... Don't ya love em....