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State unemployment inches up in March

Posted April 17, 2009

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— North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased slightly in March, to 10.8 percent from 10.7 percent in February, according to statistics released Friday by the state Employment Security Commission.

The unemployment rate is now double what it was a year ago – 5.4 percent in March 2008 – but the latest monthly increase was the smallest North Carolina has seen since a 0.2 percentage point rise in October.

The nationwide unemployment rate is 8.5 percent. Michigan tops the nation with an unemployment rate of more than 12 percent, followed by Oregon, South Carolina, California and North Carolina.

Moses Carey, Employment Security Commission chairman ESC: Don't get too excited over unemployment data

ESC Chairman Moses Carey said he didn't want to read too much into the numbers.

"If you give people the impression that we have seen the bottom of this downturn, then their expectations might be dampened when the (unemployment rate) goes back up in the month of April," Carey said. "Even if the economy did turn around, the unemployment rate will probably continue to rise before we see any significant declines."

Mike Walden, an economist with North Carolina State University, also said the latest state numbers are deceiving.

Seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 33,300 workers, to 4,060,882, according to the ESC. Walden said that drop was double the 17,171 decline in the number of employed in February.

Meanwhile, unemployment increased by 2,417 workers, to 492,512, the ESC said. The number of unemployed workers remains at an all-time high.

Walden noted that the small increase in the number of unemployed is the only factor that kept a lid on the state's rate in March.

"What has apparently happened is a major increase in 'discouraged workers' – people out of work but who are not actively looking for work. They are not counted as unemployed and are also not counted in the labor force," he said. "The lesson: Keep your eye on the number of people employed, not the unemployment rate."

Nearly 2,000 people under age 25 attended a Friday job fair in Durham, hoping to boost the state's employment figures.

Many teens chase few summer jobs Many teens chase few summer jobs

"There are a lot of people here, and so I kind of got intimidated," 16-year-old Erica Broughton said. "I don't know if I'm going to get a job or not because there are a lot of people looking for jobs."

Employers at the job fair had 400 jobs to fill.

"Usually, the room is full with employers. A lot of employers are saying they don't have the manpower to send out, (but) they still are committed to hiring one or two," said Kim Moss, assistant coordinator of Durham's Office on Youth.

Broughton's mother, Sandra Cozart, said it's important for her daughter to find some summer work.

"She needed to come out here and get herself a job for the summer to help pay for her school clothes for the next year and pay for some of her expenses because things are tight right now. She needs to learn early on to help out," Cozart said.

Since this time last year, unemployment statewide has increased by 248,456 people, and employment is down by 215,546 workers, the ESC said.

"Unemployment is a lagging indicator of a slowdown. That means, even after the slowdown is no longer occurring, unemployment will still tick up a little bit," said Paul Stock, executive vice president of the North Carolina Bankers Association.

Still, Stock said he sees glimmers of hope in a bleak economic picture.

"We've just seen some great (foreclosure) figures that just came out. From the first quarter of last year to this year, there's a 42 percent decline in North Carolina, just as foreclosures have gone up elsewhere," he said.

Also, federal programs to lower interest rates and encourage lending might help stabilize the housing market, he said.

"Historically at least, when home building turns around, it's a huge positive sign for the American economy. It has the biggest ripple effect of anything," he said.

Construction took the biggest hit in the latest unemployment figures, losing 4.1 percent of its work force statewide, followed by professional and business services at 2.1 percent and manufacturing at 2 percent.

18 Comments

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  • ThisIsMyName Apr 17, 2009

    I am hoping these latest numbers do show we've hit bottom and will improve soon.

  • GWALLY Apr 17, 2009

    (1) GWALLY-
    Guess what ...... He still won!!!

    (2) And after all is said and done we are going to be better not because he created jobs but because he inspires people.

    (3) People like you said then the same things you are saying now but wonder what will be said fifty years from now about this period in American history?
    mrduright

    (a) Yes he did win.....because of the stupidity of 52% of the "suposidly"...."registered" voters.

    (b) Inspiring people.....= ZIP, "O" to the economy or your bank account.

    (c) Don't worry....you will not have to wait 47 years to see the destruction this tax and spend liberal and his congress has created!!!!

    (d) The super "one's" best selection to date to his government.....the DOG!!!!

  • affirmativediversity Apr 17, 2009

    mrduright:

    Did you actually have to look up the definition of mysogynistic?

    I said what I meant and meant what I said!

    The only thing Obama appears to think women are good for is a source of embryonic stem cells and an increase in business at abortion clinics...I think Obama believes women all live their lives waiting in eager anticipation for the opportunity to prove their emanicipated status by having an abortion and donating the medical refuge to the appropriately funded research laboratory!

    So far I am seriously unimpressed!

  • mrduright Apr 17, 2009

    affirmativediversity-

    WHAT!!!!!! are you talking about now Obama hates women?! Read books istead of burning them

    "Now the fact that his Spendfest was not suprisingly misogynistic in its tragetted employment constituencies is hardly something for Liberals to be proud of...but...by all means, fill your boots"

    misogynistic: having or showing a hatred and distrust of women

  • mrduright Apr 17, 2009

    strawberrysw4-

    I am going to attempt to explain employment to you 1) you have to pay for it in order to get it= it is based on what you made the previous year it not a hand out its insurance 2) Burger flipping and pumping gas maybe attenuate to pay your bills, but some people have been working for companies 10, 20 30+ years and with those years come salaries and life styles that minimum wage cant pay for try raising 4 kids a house/car note and all the other living expenses on less than a thousand dollars a month and see how far you get. 3) Unemployment is a bridge just enough to keep you going until you get a job, it cost money to go to those interviews.

  • affirmativediversity Apr 17, 2009

    mrduright:

    I don't believe I've ever said Obama is responsible for all the unemployment in North Carolina. BUT he did promise AN END TO IT THROUGH HIS SPENDFEST BILL!!!

    Now the fact that his Spendfest was not suprisingly misogynistic in its tragetted employment constituencies is hardly something for Liberals to be proud of...but...by all means, fill your boots!

  • strawberrysw4 Apr 17, 2009

    thatsgreat: Agreed! I think the next few months we'll see the number of those receiving benefits start dropping significantly... as long as unemployment doesn't get extended to 11 months. The 9 months are running out for people, and they'll be forced to get jobs.

    Getting a job isn't easy right now, but there is no excuse for someone not being able to find a job after 9 months! I see plenty of places with "Now Hiring" signs.

    If even HALF the number of people on unemployment were actively seeking employment, no company would have to advertise they were hiring, they would have stacks of applications.

    The trouble is that many people think they are too good to flip burgers or work at Wal-Mart. It is easier to mooch off the government for as long as they can.

  • mrduright Apr 17, 2009

    GWALLY-

    Guess what ...... He still won!!! And after all is said and done we are going to be better not because he created jobs but because he inspires people. 47 years ago another young president inspired a nation to go to the moon cost billions on dollars but we did it and in our quest to get to the moon we created al sorts of technology. People like you said then the same things you are saying now but wonder what will be said fifty years from now about this period in American history?

  • GWALLY Apr 17, 2009

    oh...lets not worry..!! The super "one" and his little dog the "news media" have it all figured out....just get in line and don't ask any questions!!!!

  • mrduright Apr 17, 2009

    affirmativediversity-

    Yeah the President of the United States is responsible for all the jobs lost in North Carolina. And would really give a 60+ year old woman a shovel to do road work get real.

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