08.08.2012 News Releases, Policy Points

Report Traces Impact Of North Carolina Employment Service

CHAPEL HILL (August 8, 2012) – Earlier this week, the Employment and Training Administration, an agency within the US Department of Labor, released a research report entitled The Employment Service in Rural North Carolina: Insights from the “Great Recession.”

Prepared by South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy, the report explores the role that the 90 local offices of the North Carolina State Employment Service (ES) played in assisting the rural unemployed between 2007 and 2010.

Established in 1935, the ES was long part of the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina, which now is a component of the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The mission of the Employment Service is to provide publicly-funded labor exchange services to employed and unemployed workers and to firms seeking employees. The ES also manages unemployment insurance claims at the local level, administers the “work test” required of insurance claimants, and serves as a mandated partner in the state’s network of JobLink Career Centers. Employees and employers may access services remotely or at one of 90 local offices.

The study explores the role played by local ES offices in rural communities between 2007 and 2010, which was the height of the “Great Recession” in North Carolina. Attention centers on the popular policy argument that local ES offices ensure equal access to workforce services in rural communities. To that end, the study broke the policy argument into six distinct hypotheses and examined them quantitatively and qualitatively.

Specifically, the study documents the evolution of North Carolina’s service model, analyzes administrative data pertaining to service usage, and solicits stakeholder perspectives through semi-structured interviews. The study concludes by offering program recommendations and suggesting avenues for future inquiry.

The Employment and Training Administration commissioned the report as part of the 2010 Employment and Training Administration Research Papers Program, which competitively awarded funding to conduct original research and prepare scholarly papers on topics relating to the workforce investment system. Full descriptions of the program and all the funded research projects are available in federal Training and Employment Notice #3-12.

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