MEDIA RELEASE: New jobs report shows lagging economic recovery

MEDIA RELEASE: New jobs report shows lagging economic recovery
NC’s labor market still struggling to recover from recession

RALEIGH (November 22, 2011) – North Carolina’s labor market is still struggling to recover from the recent recession, new numbers from the Division of Employment Security show.

According to numbers released this morning, the private sector experienced only minimal job growth, creating just 700 jobs in October, despite an overall decrease in the unemployment rate from 10.5% to 10.4%.

Perhaps even more troubling, the labor force—an estimate of all persons 16 years of age and older who are either employed or unemployed and actively seeking work—actually shrank by 2,500 jobs over the last month, indicating that the number of people who have jobs or are seeking them is going in the opposite direction needed for robust economic growth.

“Although positive job growth is certainly good news, the drop in the overall unemployment rate likely has more to do with the shrinking labor force than it does genuine and sustained job creation,” said Allan Freyer, a public policy analyst with the NC Budget & Tax Center. “And the labor force is shrinking as unemployed workers become discouraged and stop looking for work after months of fruitless searching.”

The jobs report indicates that the pace of the state’s job creation is failing to keep up with population growth, and when combined with the hole in the labor market caused by the recent recession, North Carolina’s economy is experiencing a significant “jobs deficit” for North Carolina. By October, this jobs deficit— the difference between the number of jobs North Carolina has and the number it needs to regain its pre-recession employment rate—came to 511,300 jobs. That number includes the 300,500 jobs North Carolina lost plus the 210,800 jobs it needs to keep up with the 5.1% growth in population that North Carolina has experienced in the 46 months since the recession began.

Despite the 4,800 increase in government jobs in October, the long-term trend for public sector employment is deep into negative territory. Since October of last year, all levels of government have laid off a total of 10,000 workers – layoffs which have naturally acted to dampen improvement in the overall labor market.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Allan Freyer, Public Policy Analyst, NC Budget and Tax Center, allan@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2151; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).

The N.C. Budget and Tax Center—a project of the N.C. Justice Center—seeks to create economic opportunity and shared prosperity for all North Carolinians through non-partisan research, education and advocacy on budget, tax and economic issues.