MEDIA RELEASE: National Job Losses Mount in March

MEDIA RELEASE: National Job Losses Mount in March
Analyst: latest report offers no signs of progress

RALEIGH (April 3, 2009) -- National employment numbers released this morning show that the collapse of the national labor market continued in March. The American economy shed another 663,000 jobs, and the monthly unemployment rate rose from 8.1 to 8.5 percent.

While the numbers are in line with forecasts, they nevertheless are grim and offer little evidence that the recession will end anytime soon.

"The national labor market continued to collapse in March," said John Quinterno, a researcher with the North Carolina Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center. "For the 15th consecutive month, employers in virtually every major industry eliminated more jobs than they created. Job losses have triggered rising unemployment and underemployment. In March, not only was 8.5 percent of the labor force unemployed, but 15.6 percent was underemployed."

Quinterno expects that the national numbers are a preview of what is in store for North Carolina, which already has one of the nation's worst-performing labor markets.

"The end of the recession is no where in sight," said Quinterno. "Today's report bodes ill for North Carolina, which likely will see its 10.7 percent unemployment rate rise when state figures are released later in the month."

Since the recession's start, the state's employers have eliminated, on net, 176,000 positions. Some 77 percent of the net losses have occurred just since September 2008. Job losses have contributed to an increase in the unemployment rate, which has risen to 10.7 percent from 4.7 percent since the beginning of the recession.

The new facts, Quinterno said, are grim and highlight the need for an all-hands-on-deck approach from federal and state lawmakers alike.

"Hopefully, the labor market will stabilize over the next few months as the federal recovery package takes hold," he said, cautioning that conditions have deteriorated markedly since the legislation's enactment. "At the state level, rising service demands and falling revenues place state leaders in a budgetary vise and requires them to consider all options or risk making the situation worse."

For More Information, Contact: John Quinterno, 919-856-3185 (office); 919-622-2392 (mobile)