MEDIA RELEASE: Unemployment rates fall, but new job creation strategies are still essential
The recession has increased unemployment by 119 percent, so working families desperately need effective targeted jobs efforts
RALEIGH (May 21, 2010) - For the second straight month, unemployment rates decreased in North Carolina, but a budget analyst says the small drop in joblessness just highlights the recession's length and severity.
Unemployment dropped to 10.8 percent in April according to numbers released this morning by the state Employment Security Commission. The number had been 11.1 percent in March.
"The decline in unemployment numbers for the second month in a row is a good sign, but the damage created by this recession is so significant, we still have a long way to go," said Alexandra Forter Sirota, a policy analyst with the NC Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center.
Unemployment has increased by a whopping 119 percent since the onset of the recession, Sirota said. This has devastated working families and had a profound effect on the long-term stability of our economy.
"In order for North Carolina to recover from the jobs lost during this recession and meet the growth in the workforce, more than 400,000 jobs will need to be created," said Sirota. In April, 7,500 jobs were created -- a good start, but hardly a full remedy for working people.
Job losses have been particularly acute in industries such as construction (a 25.6 percent decline), manufacturing (a 26.1 percent decline), and trade, transportation and utilities (a 12.4 percent decline).
Targeted job creation strategies should be considered now to boost growth in employment opportunities, said Sirota. For the hardest hit industries, effective strategies to improve the jobs outlook include the continued use of federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to weatherize homes in North Carolina and new initiatives to support the nascent clean energy economy.
As of January 2010, national estimates suggested that there were nearly 6 workers for every job opening. This highlights the need for new job-creation policies, Sirota said.
"As the economic picture brightens, discouraged workers will return to the labor force to seek employment -- which down the line can lead to slight increases in the unemployment rate," she said. "Without the creation of new jobs, these workers will face a difficult environment."