Triangle unemployment dips to 8.6 percent, but 5,200 fewer people have jobs

Posted September 25, 2009
Updated September 26, 2009

— Unemployment in the Triangle fell to 8.6 percent in August from 9.1 percent in July, but the job picture isn’t necessarily improving.

Why? Because more than 5,200 fewer people were working last month and the size of the region’s work force – those people working or seeking jobs – fell by more than 10,000, according to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

The number of people working across the Triangle fell to 793,630 in August. Meanwhile, the ranks of those seeking work dropped to 74,662.

North Carolina State University economist Michael Walden said the improvement in the unemployment rate is not a “good reading.”

“We're at that stage of the recession where the unemployment rate really doesn't give us a good reading on the job market,” Walden told and Local Tech Wire. “The problem is - as the recession has lingered and gotten deeper - unemployed persons stop actively looking for work, either because they are discouraged or because no one is hiring.

“And if an unemployed person doesn't actively look for work - by sending out resumes and going on job interviews - they won't ‘officially’ be classified as unemployed and they won't be included in the labor force,” he added.

The ESC acknowledges as well that the labor force shrinks in part as the recession lingers on and people either lose unemployment benefits or stop looking for work – or both.

“Most counties experienced some loss in the labor force,” ESC Chairman Moses Carey Jr. said in a statement. “People moving away and looking for work in other areas, students returning to school or some people exhausting their benefits are reasons for such declines. This can have an impact on the unemployment rate.”

Walden said he is “afraid” unemployment rates have dropped “in many counties simply because everyone who is unemployed is not classified as unemployed.”

As the ESC noted, the number of people working actually declined not only in the Triangle but statewide – by 29,596. Those seeking jobs also fell by more than 24,0000.

“The best measure - now - to gauge the job market is simply the number of jobs, and as of yet, we haven't seen improvement here,” Walden said.

“My forecast is still that noticeable improvement in the job market won't occur until next spring.

“The good news is we can now say that - a year ago there was no near-term outlook for job market improvement.”

Congress is discussing an extension of unemployment benefits nationwide.

North Carolina’s jobless rate dipped to 10.7 percent in August from 11.1 percent in July.

The jobless rate in each of the state’s major metro areas:

• Asheville — 8.5 percent, down from 9 percent in July.
• Burlington — 12.2 percent, down from 12.7 percent.
• Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC — 11.8 percent, down from 12.4 percent.
• Durham-Chapel Hill — 8 percent, down from 8.3 percent.
• Fayetteville — 9.1 percent, down from 9.5 percent.
• Goldsboro — 8.9 percent, down from 9.7 percent.
• Greensboro-High Point — 11.6 percent, down from 11.9 percent.
• Greenville — 10.5 percent, down from 10.9 percent.
• Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton — 14.6 percent, down from 15 percent.
• Jacksonville — 8.2 percent, down from 8.8 percent.
• Raleigh-Cary — 8.7 percent, down from 9.1 percent.
• Rocky Mount — 13.8 percent, down from 14 percent.
• Wilmington — 9.7 percent down from 10.1 percent.
• Winston-Salem — 10 percent, down from 10.2 percent.




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  • gcmann Sep 25, 2009

    The company I work for, IBM, has laid off (fired is a better word) over 13,000 American employees (approx 17,000 if you count contractors) since Jan '09. The jobs did not go away, they were sent overseas to lesser skilled labor, or less qualified but cheaper indian H-1B visa holders were imported to replace the Americans. These layoffs occurred despite record profits for IBM.

    The American workers are forced under threat of no severance pay to train their foreign replacements.
    It usually takes three or more indian workers to replace one American. What's even worse, the H-1B visa program is so full of fraud - approx. 50 %.
    400 tech jobs coming to the Triangle ? Big whoop. Probably will be filled with cheap foreign labor.
    For some tech jobs, there are over 20,000 applicants.

    Anyone else notice that Morrisville/Cary looks like New Delhi ?

    American jobs for Americans.

    Something needs to be done, and soon.

  • gandalla Sep 25, 2009

    Here's the link to the article saying we're closer to 20% unemployment than the government is saying:

    That wasnt a bad article. I love the way he said we have never recovered from the hole Bush drove us into in 2001.

  • kamufm Sep 25, 2009

    Here's the link to the article saying we're closer to 20% unemployment than the government is saying:

  • Jack Flash Sep 25, 2009

    Obama deserved blame for the rising unemployment, but he doesn't deserve credit for this dip because it's all due to the new booming cottage industry of creating poorly spelled protest signs.

  • gandalla Sep 25, 2009

    The note was a follow-up to Ensign's questioning at the markup.

    I been watching the mark up CSPAN now that is some reality TV for you. I think its pretty funny how all the amendments for the Dems get Yay's very easily while the Repubs's get Nay's. This should be a lesson of learning to the Republicans next time(or should I say if) you are ever in power again. You should fix the things that are wrong with American because when we get out turn we are going to fix them our way, and we could careless what the republicans think.

  • kamufm Sep 25, 2009

    To make this even worse, someone who wants full time work but only has a part time job is considered "employed." Someone else working at half the salary they are use to is also employed, but not in what they want. Then there's people like me who have two jobs just to get by. All of these scenarios are bad, but don't show up in the unemployment figures.


    That's all TRUE above but if you run out of ESC monthly benefit payments, you are NOT part of the unemployment statistics. You are ASSUMED to be employed again which are many times are not true at all !!!

    My 2 cents.

  • yankee1 Sep 25, 2009

    Hey libs, let me light a new fire for ya! This is fresh off the POLITICO site, left leaning by the way. It has to do with your beloved health care reform. See how you like this one!

    Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance.

    Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it "Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold."

    The note was a follow-up to Ensign's questioning at the markup.

  • Caveman93 Sep 25, 2009

    Not true Caveman, I refinance my home earlier this year with no problems. I had to fill out the paper work that used to be standard for loans (Proof of income, tax statements, bank statements etc...) The refinance is saving me about $150 per month.

    Tis true Wildervb. You are speaking of a REFI. I am speaking about taking out a second mortgage on a fully equitized and paid for home. You are very limited on the LTV you can tap now. Basically, your equity is useless because the banks will not extend for 2nd mortgages to a high LTV.

  • gandalla Sep 25, 2009

    I didn't agree with the Iraq war either. I've always thought that was revenge for the attack on Bush Sr.

    Bush did a lot more to increase the defict than just the two wars. He also expanded the government and add more federal employees than any president since Ronald. Can you say TSA and DHS? And they say Republicans are for small federal government.

  • wildervb Sep 25, 2009

    "The Obama deficit is for things like 70 billion to Planned Parenthood"

    This is another example of posting an outragious lie as if it were fact. But, hey maybe I'm wrong, so Veyor, where on earth did you get that figure from?