Prosperity Watch, Issue 18, No. 1: Climbing jobs deficit presents clear need for policy solutions

The new jobs numbers released by the NC Division of Employment Security last week confirmed what North Carolina’s workers have known from first-hand experience and which now presents one of the defining challenges facing policy makers—the state is just not experiencing enough job creation to keep pace with the demands of its growing population.

Along with an unemployment rate that increased from 9.6 percent to 9.7 percent in August, the full scope of this policy challenge is best captured in the state’s jobs deficit—the number of jobs the state needs to create to replace those lost to the 2007-2009 economic downturn and keep up with population growth—which grew to 553,400 last month, up from 546,000 in April and up from 530,600 at the beginning of the year.  At a time when there are almost three workers for every available job opening across the Southeast, the growing jobs deficit reinforces the lack of employment opportunities as the fundamental driver behind the struggling labor market. 

The climbing jobs deficit and corresponding lack of job openings present a clear and defining challenge for North Carolina’s policy makers.

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