N.C. unemployment rate dips to 10.8 percent as labor force shrinks

Posted September 18, 2009
Updated September 19, 2009

— North Carolina’s unemployment rate dipped slightly for the third consecutive month in August, but a smaller labor force and not more people working contributed to the drop, the N.C. Employment Security Commission reported Friday.

Employment actually fell by 8,330 to 4 million, but that figure was offset by a decline of nearly 15,000 in the size of the labor force to 4.52 million. Unemployment also decreased by nearly 7,000 to 488,974.

The ESC attributed drops in the labor force to people who are no longer seeking employment and have dropped out of the job market, moved out of state or are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

Only a return of teachers to local jobs, which contributed to a surge of 20,100 in government sector employment, kept unemployment from increasing.

Job cuts hit hardest in the transportation and utilities, which shed 4,400 positions.

Another 4,100 jobs were lost in manufacturing, while the leisure and hospitality shed 2,200 jobs. Professional and business services firms cut 1,200 jobs.

“A small loss in the labor force led to the decrease in the rate,” said ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr.

“Much like previous months, we have not experienced a lot of change in the labor force one way or the other. These small changes have resulted in slight decreases throughout the past few months.”

North Carolina’s unemployment hit 11.1 percent in May but since then, has slowly slid to 11 percent in June, 10.9 percent in July and 10.8 percent in August.

However, economists such as Mike Walden at North Carolina State University and John Connaughton at UNC Charlotte are predicting that unemployment will increase before year’s end as the economy continues to struggle.

U.S. unemployment increased in August to 9.7 percent from 9.4 percent in July.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • WXYZ Sep 21, 2009

    So, how is "Hope and Change" working for you? Truly, the numerous, extreme and rapid changes by the liberal, socialist Democrat controlled federal government and state governments are NOT increasing the degree of "hope" for an ever growing percentage of the US and our state. NC has ALWAYS been among the strongest states economically--i.e. among the last to be hurt and among the first to recover. Now, our ability to recover is showing the extensive adverse effects of what Easley + Perdue + Democrat legislature did to us over the past 8 years--NC had a budget surplus 7 of 8 years---ALL of the surplus was spent and EVERY YEAR the budget was raised--an average of 10% per year! E.g.: New and higher taxes and government fees, PLUS a state sponsored LOTTERY and next TOLL ROADS! The more we let the Democrats increase the government budget, the more dependent we become on government support, the weaker the private (tax paying) sector becomes! Next vote, REPUBLICAN is the only sane choice.

  • Stringbean Sep 18, 2009

    When federal agents descended on six meatpacking plants owned by Swift & Co. in December 2006, they rounded up nearly 1,300 suspected illegal immigrants that made up about 10% of the labor force at the plants. But the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents did not cripple the company or the plants. In fact, they were back up and running at full staff within months by replacing those removed with a significant number of native-born Americans, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

    That was the most extreme example of what has become an increasingly common result of the raids: "They were very beneficial to American workers," according to Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain.

    "Whenever there's an immigration raid, you find white, black and legal immigrant labor lining up to do those jobs that Americans will supposedly not do," said Swain, who teaches law and political science.


  • cbfx3 Sep 18, 2009

    My construction company has shrunk from around 20 to a steady 9 to 11 last year... We are now down to the last 4 guys that have been with me for at a minimum of 5 years.. pretty much working about 2 to 3 days a week. In 20 years in construction I have NEVER seen anything like this. The little bit of work that is out there is being snapped up by latino subs for as much as 1/3 my cost. PLEASE people if you are considering doing work or building a house, request verified American workers and subs. The cheap labor takes money out of our economy and wires it south of the border. We have already lost factory jobs and now the service industry is right behind it. Hey but the good news is I just got a letter from the state saying I have 2 weeks to be prepared for an audit!!

  • are you kidding me Sep 18, 2009

    Labor force is shrinking because my unemployment benefits ran out, so no check there, house will be sold for me soon, and ... do I need to continue. Are they saying things are getting better? Jeez Louise!

  • They call me CATMAN Sep 18, 2009

    usmilewme2 people that are drawing unemployment that have reached the limit drop off and don't count anymore and there are plenty of those. people that have just given up and dont apply for benefits drop off the list. Many factors go into why the number drops those are just 2

  • time4real Sep 18, 2009

    great job bevdoo!

  • Professor Sep 18, 2009


  • usmilewme2 Sep 18, 2009 can the rate drop when I see people losing jobs every week just about. Business have cut back so bad now that custmer service sucks, getting things done takes twice as long because the one's there are now doing jobs for about 2 1/2 people besides their own job they started with. Goverment WAKE THE HECK UP>>?????

  • moth Sep 18, 2009

    A lot of good spin on a lot of bad numbers.

  • prn13norm Sep 18, 2009

    The real unemployment number is closer to 18%. Those underemployed, those who have given up and quit looking and those that were self employed are not counted. Obama rails on and on about Health Care and Cap and Trade but never addresses the real concern of the American People. THE ECONOMY!