08.03.2011 News Releases

Midyear Labor Market Review Released

CHAPEL HILL (August 3, 2011) – North Carolina’s labor market recorded virtually no net job growth during the first six months of 2011. Between December 2010 and June 2011, the state gained only 13,900 more jobs than it lost (+0.4 percent). With such weak growth, little progress was made against joblessness. If current trends hold, 2011 will prove another lost year for working North Carolinians.

These findings come from a midyear review of the labor market released today by South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. Available at Policy Points, the firm’s blog, the review summarizes the major labor market trends of 2011.

“While North Carolina has gained some jobs in 2011, the growth has been insufficient to make up the ground lost during the recession,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies. “The economy simply is not creating enough jobs for all those who wish to work, which explains why joblessness and the attendant hardships remain widespread.”

The review notes that, on a number of indicators, the state’s labor market actually has lost ground during 2011 with many trends worsening between the year’s first and second quarters.

“Unfortunately, North Carolina’s labor market appears headed toward another lost year,” added Quinterno. “Right now, there are more factors weighing against growth than propelling it forward. The economic demand needed to spark job growth simply is not there, and the recent re-orientation of public policy around austerity only will exacerbate matters.”

The review is particularly worried about the problems of economic hardship and long-term unemployment. The review notes, for example, that in April, the most recent month with data, 16.5 percent of the state’s population was participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). The number of participants has grown by 70.2 percent since December 2007, as job have pushed the incomes of many households below the program’s eligibility level.

Long-term unemployment also is a concern. Due to the scarcity of job openings, unemployed individuals are finding themselves out of work for record periods of time. Unfortunately, the longer workers are unemployed, the less likely they are to secure new positions due to competition, skills deterioration, and negative stereotyping.

“Absent robust job growth, joblessness and the associated hardships will remain common across North Carolina,” observed Quinterno. “In many ways, we are seeing mass long-term unemployment becomes an entrenched part of North Carolina’s economic landscape. To avoid this disastrous outcome, public leaders must acknowledge the magnitude of the jobs crisis and act aggressively.”

The full review is at http://www.sbnstrategies.com/?p=7712. Individuals also may access the full review on a smartphone by scanning the Quick Response code below.

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