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N.C. unemployment hits 25-year high

Posted December 19, 2008

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— North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased to 7.9 percent in November, the highest level in 25 years, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Security Commission.

Unemployment statewide was 7.1 percent in October. The 0.8 percent increase month-to-month also was the largest jump in unemployment this year.

“Global and national economic challenges have had an impact on North Carolina,” ESC Chairman Harry Payne Jr. said in a statement. “Many employers are faced with layoffs or (are) cutting back hours. Several job areas, including manufacturing and professional and business services, have been affected by the national business climate. During the last year, employment in those sectors alone is down by 57,600.”

Nationwide, the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in November.

Seasonally adjusted employment statewide decreased by 58,621workers, to 4.2 million. Unemployment increased by 35,828 workers, to 359,319. The number of workers who are unemployed, but actively seeking work is at an all-time high, state officials said.

Waldo Murray said he has been out of work for four months.

"I'm surviving. I'm still making it, and I'm going to keep on but it's hard," Murray said. "I've been in the job since '91. I've seen (the economy) go up, (and) I've seen it go down. This looks worse to me than in the past."

Alton Smith, who has been unemployed for five months, said he has learned to be patient during his job search.

"If we can't get a full-time job, (I'll take) some seasonal full-time, seasonal part-time," Smith said.

Wayne Beverly, who oversees the unemployment office in Raleigh, said this is the worst recession he's seen in more than 30 years with the ESC.

"I started in '74 (and) was here for the recession in '74, '81, '91 '01 and now this recession," Beverly said. "(This is) the worst I've had so far."

Jeannette Moss, director of Wake Technical Community College's job placement program, agrees that the current recession is deeper than any in recent memory.

"We have alumni who are being laid off who are calling me up, and they need positions," Moss said.

In the last year, unemployment statewide has increased by 145,631 people. Meanwhile, the labor force has increased by 33,332 people during the same period.

The state unemployment rate in November 2007 was 4.7 percent.

Unlike some states like Michigan that have had one sector of the economy hit especially hard, ESC Deputy Chairman David Clegg said, North Carolina has been hit across the board, especially industries that use contract employees like education, technology, health care and construction.

"You'd normally expect to see a significant uptick in part-time workers in the retail (sector), and many retailers simply did not hire those extra people," Clegg said. "North Carolina is just sort of rising and falling with the global economy."

The lone silver lining to the unemployment picture, according to Clegg, is that North Carolina's jobless are finding new jobs in an average of 14 weeks. He said that's a good rate in the current economy.

Still, Moss provides job seekers with resources and support, but she said her available listings are the fewest she's ever seen.

"(Our) average before recently had been over 200 a month new listings, and now it's a lot less," she said.

39 Comments

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  • TontoKozlowski Dec 19, 2008

    http://www.wral.com/golo/blogpost/4174910/

  • Hasbeen Dec 19, 2008

    Zebmom - so well said. I have worked since I was 12 (paper route) and ever since (31 years) and frankly whether I chose to seek a temp job or not, the audacity of SOME in their judgements of others here is just very sad. It's "I'm doing everything perfectly and everyone else must be flawed" So self centered and annoying

  • zebmom Dec 19, 2008

    IS HE REALLY LOOKING??WALMART,MCDONALDS ARE HIRING,OR IS YOUR HUSBAND TOO GOOD FOR 8.00/HOUR?NEVER MIND UNEMPLOYMENT PAYS MORE THAN THIS

    1) He applied at Wal-Mart and hasn't heard a thing
    2) No, not too good for 8.00 an hour.
    3) Not taking unemployment so quit yelling at me when you have no idea about my situation. When you are in my shoes, you can yell.
    4) Applied at other places like Lowe's, Target, Lowe's Foods, Kroger, Home Depot, UPS, US Foods and, yes, even some food places. Only 2 places interviewed him. And he was among 30-50 other people being interviewed for less than 2 positions available. No one else has called him. And this is a man who worked since he was 17 years old in a great job and has a college degree.

    What's your answer now?

  • OpinionatedGuy Dec 19, 2008

    Well said KenD...

  • Hasbeen Dec 19, 2008

    050462 - you may have a job until 2015, but, it does not sound like you have much happiness or compassion for you fellow man. Your pretty cynical of what others may or may not be doing or shuold have done. I feel sorry for you. Enjoy your contract to 2015. We will survive without all of your great advice

  • Ken D. Dec 19, 2008

    "Anything below 6% has always been considered overemployment."

    "I learned in 9th grade PEL class that 7% is considered full employment."

    I don't know where you (or your PEL teacher) are getting these ideas from, but I doubt you'd hear many reputable economists agreeing with them. There is a concept called "structural unemployment", which asserts that at any given time friction in job markets (lag between layoffs in one company, locality or industry and hiring by another) accounts for about 4% nationally.

    Nevertheless, when your job is one of the ones eliminated, the rate doesn't seem to matter as much.

  • Hasbeen Dec 19, 2008

    050462 - STOP SHOUTING...please

    The comments about working at Walmart or McDonalds are just so tired. It's not about being too good for a job, it is just rediculous to think 8.00 per hour is going to really help put a dent in any white collar persons current budget regardless of debt. If I were unemployed it would be more practical to spend 40 hours, looking for work, a new career, maybe just taking care of the family than to spend 40 hours to bring home $250 bucks even if they had 40 hours, which, usually they don't McD's is a business, not a job service

  • ty will belabor a point Dec 19, 2008

    What are the Bush "protectors" smoking?/endquote

    I am a strong liberal (meaning-- I believe and support free thinking, not Post Modernistic Groupthink practiced by the left and far right)and anything but a "Bush protector". To that end, I absolutely hold President Bush as accountable as his "friends" across the aisle, the democrats. If you asked anyone in a blind test (no names or party affiliation, only generic descriptions of his policies, he would be lumped in the Progressive categories. IMO, that is his biggest failing. No Child Left Behind & The Patriot Act smack of socialist government among other things he did. The one thing he did besides the war that liberals detest is cutting taxes (and thank God he did). Besides that, he is you.

    As far as moving our company, I've been an entrepreneur for nearly 20 years and I will act in what's in the best interest of me and my family so thanks NCWebguy for your irrelevant, insipid input.

  • 050462 Dec 19, 2008

    THERE ARE PLENTY OF JOBS OUT THERE IF YOU REALLY WANT TO WORK,MIGHT NOT BE WHAT YOU WERE MAKING,BUT MANY OF YOU HAVE CREDIT CARD DEBT UP TO YOUR EYEBALLS,AND THE ONES COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW TOUGH IT IS WITH NO JOB.SHOULD HAVE TOOK YOUR ADVICE FROM YOUR PARENTS WHEN THE SAID SAVE FOR A RAINY DAY,WAS UNEMPLOYED FOR 18 MONTHS,HAD ENOUGH IN SAVINGS TO COVER THAT,AND YES MY JOB IS RECESSION PROOF NOW,I HAVE A CONTRACT FOR THE MILITARY UNTIL 2015 SO GOOD LUCK.

  • 050462 Dec 19, 2008

    You would think that, but my husband has been out of a job for 3 months now and has had no luck.

    IS HE REALLY LOOKING??WALMART,MCDONALDS ARE HIRING,OR IS YOUR HUSBAND TOO GOOD FOR 8.00/HOUR?NEVER MIND UNEMPLOYMENT PAYS MORE THAN THIS.

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