Local News

N.C. unemployment at all-time high

Posted March 27, 2009

— North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased a full percentage point in February, moving to 10.7 percent from 9.7 percent in January, the state Employment Security Commission reported Friday.

The jobless rate, which has increased for 13 straight months, is at its highest point since the state started keeping seasonally adjusted data, officials said. The statewide unemployment rate in February 2008 was 5.2 percent.

Employment Security Commission office N.C. jobless rate up for 13 straight months

North Carolina is one of seven states with double-digit unemployment. Michigan tops the list at 12 percent, followed by South Carolina.

"(It's) not a big surprise," said Larry Parker, spokesman for the North Carolina Employment Security Commission. "We know the number of layoffs that are happening across the state. We know they're affecting the numbers. We know that manufacturing and construction continue to take a hit month after month."

The previous state record for unemployment was 10.2 percent, which occurred during the 1983 recession. During the dot-com bust of 2001-02, the state jobless rate was about 7 percent.

Most job sectors have seen increases in unemployment in recent months, Parker said.

The manufacturing sector posted the biggest jump in unemployment last month, with 14,900 jobs lost, while educational and health services showed the largest employment gains, adding 6,200 jobs, according to the ESC.

"It's very difficult right now. There's not that many jobs out there to be had," Parker said.

Electrician James Delk said he lost his job in September and now spends a lot of time at the Raleigh ESC office.

"This is the longest I've been out of work in a very long time," Delk said. "Believe it or not, (coming to the ESC office) gives me something to do for the day. (For) a lot of these jobs, you cannot walk into their office and put in an application. They'd rather you do it online or fax a resume."

Beginning next month, the ESC will begin adding $25 to weekly unemployment checks as part of the federal economic stimulus package, officials said. The extra money will be retroactively paid to the week ending Feb. 28, officials said.

The state paid out $212 million in unemployment benefits in February and has started borrowing money from the federal government to cover benefits payments.

The average person receives benefits for 13 weeks, according to the ESC. The average weekly check is $290, up $13 a week from last year.

Seasonally adjusted employment decreased in February by 17,728 workers, to 4,093,625. Unemployment increased by 51,902 workers, to 491,067.

The number of unemployed workers actively seeking work remains at an all-time high. Unemployment has increased by 253,850 people since February 2008, while employment is down by 194,477 workers.

Gov. Beverly Perdue said she hopes provisions in her $21 billion budget proposal to retrain workers will help turn things around.

"We all are just hopeful the bleeding will stop soon," Perdue said. "This is hard news for North Carolina, hard news for the country. We just all hope that sunshine begins soon."


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  • ifcdirector Mar 27, 2009

    In other news North Carolina's democrat governor and corrupt legislative majority continue profligate spending and vow to keep North Carolina's tax rates on corporations and individuals as high as humanly possible throughout the Southeast.

  • lizard Mar 27, 2009

    independent_thinker -

    And the super wealthy donate it to the democrats.

    Your conspiracy theory has a great big hole in it, in that the democrats have controlled the banking committees and Congress for over two years. The hiring of lobbyists within the BO administration just demonstrates you want to give up one type lobbyist for another is all.

  • SalemWWX Mar 27, 2009

    Y'know...it's not worth it...it's like trying to explain real life to children.....

  • BuglessDuster Mar 27, 2009

    This article is an interesting contrast to another article that also appeared on this site today up us weathering the recession:


  • independent_thinker Mar 27, 2009

    Without a doubt, Wendy and Phil Gramm, Bush/Cheney, and Greenspan were the architects of the current crisis. Wendy Gramm [Reagan's favorite economist] lobbied vigorously on behalf of the Derivative and Credit Swap dealers, and her husband led the charge from inside Congress. Greenspan denied the existence of a housing bubble, and incorrectly predicted some local "corrections" while dismissing the idea of a national crisis [all the while keeping interest rates artificially low].

    When NC and Georgia passed anti predatory lending laws, the Bush administration made it illegal for states to investigate the practice of a national lender.

    If there's one name alone, it must be Wendy Gramm and her initial work with Reagan; she's fully complicit.

    The Republican party of the late 20th century/early 21st is eager to gain votes of "average Joes" through moral/social issues, only to sell you out to folks who steal from the poor/middle class and redistribute to the super wealthy.

  • 5Rs Mar 27, 2009

    The first Obama budget proposed is $3.6T. Since about 40 million tax returns have an Adjusted Gross Income of $50,000 or more (most of the rest of the people don't pay much fed tax), the $3.6T averages $90,000 per taxpayer. Explain how a budget that leaves nothing for food, shelter, automobiles, travel, clothes, etc. makes sense.

    Democrats complained (rightly) bitterly about the Bush $500B deficits. The first Democrat-controlled Congress upped the total deficit in 2008 to over $1T. 2009 is projected to be a $2T deficit with the Obama add-ons. His first complete budget proposal for 2010 will be in the same range. Don't listen to the words, look at the reality.

  • wral mods blow close my account Mar 27, 2009

    Sorry Salem, I don't think highly of biased economist that think ACRON stole the election, National Healthcare is bad (even Big Business is behind it now), and keeping our nation addict to oil.

    You need to listen to more than the economist the Republican leaders tell you to.

  • SalemWWX Mar 27, 2009

    "But here's the answer to your spending question. The majority of economists say you have to spend you way out of a recession. I'll believe them over the repub noise machine any day"

    Yes...many economists say that spending is the way out of a recession. That's basic economics. There's consumer spending, investment spending, and government spending. All government spending is not the same however. Government spending on highways, infrastructure etc, creates jobs and "greases the wheels" for the priivate sector which is the primary job creation engine. Government spending such as political payoffs to ACORN, nationalized health care, (which will compete with private entities as opposed to encouraging growth), "alternative" energy, which is code-speak for government maniipulation of and control of energy-production, and other such nonsense have very little "stimulative" effect, and these same economists that you think so highly of say that these policies will do long=term damage...

  • wral mods blow close my account Mar 27, 2009

    This is the best compliment I've gotten in a while: "You are truly Obamalike"

    Thanks P

    Now only if I could party like young Bush, Be a ladies man like Bill, and shoot better then Cheney.

  • wral mods blow close my account Mar 27, 2009

    picsatexhibition, not avoiding you, I just don't like to disturb a republican having a good cry.

    But here's the answer to your spending question. The majority of economists say you have to spend you way out of a recession. I'll believe them over the repub noise machine any day.