12.11.2009 Policy Points

A Numbing Statistic

In articles describing the newest UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast, state media outlets have adopted the idea that the state’s economy is improving. And while that may be true on some levels (and if forecasts prove accurate), that “recovery” will do little to put a dent in state and local unemployment rates anytime soon.

Since the start of the recession, the state’s non-agricultural employers have eliminated 238,100 more positions than they have created. Not only have employers eliminated jobs, but they also have failed to create the minimum number of positions needed to accommodate the natural growth of the state’s workforce. So when the recovery starts, the state will need to recapture the jobs that were lost and the ones that were needed yet never created.

Yet there is little evidence that this will happen anytime soon. In fact, the UNC Charlotte forecast suggests that the entire state will only gain, on net, 32,800 net jobs in 2010. That is a numbing statistic as that level of job creation is insufficient to accommodate population growth, let alone offset some  the losses that have occurred since December 2007. Consequently, the problems of unemployment and joblessness only will mount in 2010, and those mounting problems likely will further retard growth and further extend the time to a full recovery years into the future.

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