News Releases

02.12.2011 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Labor Market Records Some Growth In November

CHAPEL HILL (December 2, 2011) – In November, the American economy gained 120,000 more payroll jobs than it lost. While the private sector netted 140,000 positions, the public sector shed 20,000 jobs, due overwhelmingly to payroll cuts on the part of local and state governments. Also, some 8.6 percent of the labor force was unemployed in November, and the underemployment rate equaled 15.6 percent. These findings come from today’s national employment report.

“The November employment report was a weak one,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Job growth outpaced the level needed to keep pace with the size of the working-age population but was insufficient to replace the positions lost earlier in the downturn. The unemployment rate did fall in November, though roughly half of the decline was attributable to individuals leaving the labor market altogether rather than finding jobs.”

In November, the nation’s employers added 120,000 more payroll jobs than they cut. The private sector added 140,000 positions, but a net loss of 20,000 public-sector jobs erased 14.3 percent of that gain. Local government reductions (-11,000, due mainly to a loss of 6,000 education jobs) drove the public-sector decline. In recent months, public-sector cuts have weighed down job growth. Since November 2010, government payrolls have shed 278,000 positions (-1.3 percent). This drop offset 14.8 percent of the private-sector job growth that occurred during the same period.

Additionally, the payroll employment estimates for September and October underwent upward revisions. With the changes, the economy netted 310,000 jobs over those two months, not 238,000 positions as first reported.

Several private industries recorded net job growth in November. Trade, transportation, and utilities netted 58,000 positions with 85.8 percent of that growth occurring in the retail trade sub-sector (+49,800). Professional and business services added 33,000 jobs, of which 63.3 percent were in the administrative and waste services sub-sector (+20,900), which includes temporary help services (+22,300). Education and health care services netted 27,000 positions, while leisure and hospitality services gained 22,000 positions, almost entirely in the accommodation and food services sub-sector (+20,900). The construction industry lost 12,000 positions, and the information industry shed 4,000 jobs.

“The November employment report is not a particularly impressive one,” noted Quinterno. “Over the past year, net job growth has averaged 133,300 positions per month–a level grossly insufficient for replacing the jobs lost during the Great Recession.”

The inability of the current pace of job growth to alter employment conditions was evident in the November household survey. Last month, 13.3 million Americans (8.6 percent of the labor force) were jobless and seeking work. While the unemployment rate and number of unemployed individuals dropped over the past year, the share of the population with a job remains depressed. In November, the share of the adult population that was employed (58.5 percent) remained near levels last seen in the early 1980s.

Another cause for concern is the fact that long-term unemployment remains elevated. Last month, 43 percent of all unemployed workers had been out of work for at least 27 weeks. A year ago, the comparable figure was 42.2 percent.

In November, proportionally more adult male workers were unemployed than female ones (8.3 percent vs. 7.8 percent). Similarly, unemployment rates were higher among Black (15.5 percent) and Hispanic workers (11.4 percent) than among White ones (7.6 percent). The unemployment rate among teenagers was 23.7 percent. Between October and November, the unemployment rates among adult men and White workers fell, but the rates for most every other major demographic group held steady.

Additionally, 7.4 percent of all veterans were unemployed in November. The unemployment rate among recent veterans (served after September 2001) was 11.1 percent.

“Jobs remained scarce in November,” added Quinterno. “This led many individuals simply to abandon their job searches. Compared to a year ago, America has a labor force that is smaller despite overall population growth, while the number of working-age individuals who are effectively jobless remains at a disturbingly elevated level.”

A more extensive measure of labor underutilization is the underemployment rate, which equaled 15.6 percent in November. Further evidence of the difficulty in finding a job is that, among unemployed workers, the average time out of work in November equaled 40.9 weeks, compared to 33.9 weeks a year ago.

“The American economy has not managed to create many jobs over the past year, and as a result, labor market conditions clearly have not fundamentally improved. While the scope and contours of the problems are plainly evident in the data, policymakers are proving reluctant to pursue solutions that would help millions of Americans. Joblessness clearly is the greatest problem facing the American economy.”

01.12.2011 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Local Labor Markets Deteriorate Over The Year

CHAPEL HILL (December 1, 2011) – Between October 2010 and October 2011, unemployment rates rose in 78 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and in 12 of the state’s 14 metropolitan areas. At the same time, 36 counties and 5 metros had labor forces in October that were smaller in size compared to one year ago. These findings come from new estimates from the Division of Employment Security.

“Unemployment rates rose across most of North Carolina during the past year,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “In 53 counties, at least 10 percent of the labor force was unemployed in October, up from 44 counties a year ago. Similarly, the size of the labor force fell in 36 counties, which indicates that joblessness is more widespread than captured in the official unemployment measure.”

Since the economy fell into recession in December 2007, North Carolina has lost, on net, 7.2 percent of its payroll employment base (-300,500 positions) and has seen its unadjusted unemployment rate climb from 4.7 percent to 9.7 percent. In October, the state netted 5,500 payroll jobs. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 1,100 jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of just 22,500 positions.

Between September and October, unemployment rates fell in 83 counties. Unemployment rates nevertheless were at or above 10 percent in 53 counties. Individual county rates ranged from 5.4 percent in Currituck County to 16.6 percent in Scotland County. Compared to a year ago, unemployment rates were higher in 78 counties, unchanged in 4 counties, and lower in 18 counties.

“Non-metropolitan labor markets remained especially weak in October,” added Quinterno. “Last month, 10.6 percent of the non-metro labor force was unemployed, compared to 9.3 percent of the metro labor force. Over the year, the size of the rural labor force and the number of employed rural residents rose by 1.2 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, but the number of unemployed individuals jumped by 4.1 percent. This dynamic drove the unemployment rate to 10.6 percent from 10.3 percent. Compared to December 2007, the non-metro labor force now is 2.8 percent smaller. Similarly, the number of employed rural residents has fallen by 8.1 percent, while the number of unemployed rural persons has grown by 86.1 percent and now totals 138,210.

Last month, unemployment rates rose in 12 of the state’s metropolitan areas and held steady in one metro, Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir. Rocky Mount had the highest unemployment rate (13 percent), followed by Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir (11.7 percent). Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest rate (7.5 percent), followed by Asheville (7.7 percent).

Compared to October 2010, unemployment rates were higher in 78 counties and 12 metros. Moreover, 36 counties and 5 metros had smaller labor forces. Among metros, Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir recorded the largest decline in the size of its labor force (-1.8 percent), followed by Wilmington (-1.5 percent). Fayetteville posted the largest increase (+2.4 percent), followed by Winston-Salem (+1.8 percent), and Greensboro (+1 percent).

In the long term, any meaningful recovery will hinge on growth in the state’s three major regions: Charlotte, the Research Triangle, and the Piedmont Triad. Yet growth remains sluggish. Collectively, employment in these three metro regions has fallen by 3.7 percent since December 2007, and the combined October unemployment rate in the three metros equaled 9.1 percent. Of the three broad regions, the Research Triangle had the lowest unemployment rate (8 percent), followed by the Piedmont Triad (9.8 percent), and Charlotte (10.5 percent).

“North Carolina’s local labor markets recorded few meaningful improvements over the past year,” said Quinterno. “Statewide job growth has been anemic at best, and as a result, unemployment rates actually have risen across much of the state.”

“Labor market indicators continue to move in the wrong direction. With the year nearly over, 2011 likely will fail to deliver any real improvements to North Carolina’s local job markets or relief for the state’s unemployed residents.”

22.11.2011 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

N.C.’s Labor Market Still Down And Out

CHAPEL HILL (November 22, 2011) – North Carolina’s job market experienced few changes in October. While the number of jobs in the state rose slightly, unemployment remained at a distressingly high level. During the first 10 months of 2011, North Carolina netted just 14,400 jobs (+0.4 percent), while the number of unemployed individuals has jumped by 29,320 (+6.7 percent). These findings come from new data from the Division of Employment Security.

“North Carolina’s labor market remained down and out in October,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “The total number of jobs in the state remained essentially flat. Though that was an improvement over the large job losses posted in September, the bottom line is that the situation confronting job seekers remains terrible.”

In October, North Carolina employers added 5,500 more payroll jobs than they cut. Net gains occurred primarily in the public sector (+4,800, +0.7 percent), though the private sector also netted 700 jobs (<0.1 percent). Within the private sector, professional and business services gained the most jobs in absolute terms (-3,600, +0.7 percent), followed by education and health services (+3,500, +0.7 percent). Leisure and hospitality services shed the greatest number of jobs (-3,700, -0.9 percent), followed by construction (-1,800, -1 percent) and manufacturing (-1,700, -0.4 percent).

A positive revision to the September data found that the state lost 2,600 fewer jobs than first reported (-19,600 versus -22,200). Nevertheless, September was still the worst month for job loss so far in 2011. With the data revision, North Carolina has lost, on net, 300,500 positions, or 7.2 percent of its payroll base, since December 2007. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state has netted an average of 1,100 payroll jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of 22,500 positions (+0.6 percent)

“Compared to December 2007, North Carolina has fewer payroll jobs in every major industry group except for educational and health services and leisure and hospitality services,” noted Quinterno. “Despite experiencing some growth in October, public-sector employment generally has been a drag on growth during the recovery. Since February 2010, local government employment has fallen by 3.4 percent with state government employment down by 4 percent. Over that span, declines in the public sector have offset half of the gains in the private sector.”

Between October 2010 and October 2011, North Carolina gained, on net, 11,300 jobs (+0.3 percent). Net public-sector losses (-10,000) offset 46.9 percent of the net private-sector gains (+21,300 positions). In terms of individual private industries, professional and business services grew the most in absolute terms (+9,400, +1.9 percent), while construction lost the most jobs (-4,900, -2.8 percent). In the public sector, net losses stemmed from drops in state (-5,000, -2.6 percent) and local government employment (-5,700, -1.3 percent).

The household data for October also were weak. Last month, the size of the workforce fell slightly (-2,543, -0.1 percent) to 4.50 million. While the total number of employed individuals rose somewhat (+5,730, +0.1 percent) and the number of unemployed individuals fell sharply (-8,273, -1.7 percent), unemployment remained at an elevated level of 10.4 percent.

Between October 2010 and October 2011, the size of the labor force increased by 37,909 individuals (+0.8 percent). Over the year, the unemployment rate rose by 0.5 percentage points, climbing to 10.4 percent from 9.9 percent. October was the fourth consecutive month with a statewide unemployment rate in excess of 10 percent. The monthly statewide unemployment rate has been at least 9.7 or higher in every month since February 2009.

“North Carolina’s labor market has made no meaningful progress so far in 2011,” observed Quinterno. “The job gap has closed only slightly since January, and the unemployment rate is higher now than at the start of the year. Especially alarming is the fact that the share of working-age North Carolinians with a job remains at the lowest level recorded since 1976. In October, only 55.3 percent of working-age North Carolinians had jobs, down from 62.4 percent in December 2007. That represents a tremendous waste of human talent and economic potential.”

“The October job report is yet more proof that the labor market is in crisis–a crisis that, by many indicators, has worsened during 2011. Unfortunately, policymakers, particularly those at the federal level, appear to have turned a blind eye to the situation and instead are on track to adopt policies likely to exacerbate the problems for the rest of the year and into 2012.”

04.11.2011 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Another Month With Almost No Job Growth

CHAPEL HILL (November 4, 2011) – In October, the American economy gained just 80,000 more payroll jobs than it lost. While the private sector netted 104,000 positions, the public sector shed 24,000 jobs, due overwhelmingly to payroll cuts on the part of state governments. Also, some 9 percent of the labor force was unemployed in October, while the underemployment rate equaled 16.2 percent. These findings come from today’s national employment report.

“The October employment report shows that the national labor market has stagnated,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Job growth once again was virtually nonexistent, and joblessness remained widespread. Signs of future improvements were missing as well.”

In October, the nation’s employers added 80,000 more payroll jobs than they cut. A net loss of 24,000 public-sector jobs erased 23.1 percent of the meager private-sector gain of 104,000 jobs. State government reductions (-20,000, due primarily to a loss of 15,600 non-education jobs) drove the public-sector decline. In recent months, public-sector cuts have weighed down job growth. Since October 2010, government payrolls have shed 323,000 positions. This drop offset 17.8 percent of the private-sector job growth that occurred during the same period.

Additionally, the payroll employment estimates for August and September underwent upward revisions. With the changes, the economy netted 262,000 jobs over those two months, not 160,000 positions as first reported.

Several private industries recorded net job growth in October. Trade, transportation, and utilities netted 35,000 positions with half of that growth occurring in the retail trade sub-sector. Professional and business services added 32,000 jobs, of which 79.4 percent were in the administrative and waste services sub-sector, which includes temporary help services. Education and health care services netted 28,000 positions, while leisure and hospitality services gained 22,000 positions, mainly in the accommodation and food services sub-sector. The construction industry lost 20,000 positions, and the information industry shed 5,000 jobs.

“The October employment report is another in a long series of unimpressive ones,” noted Quinterno. “Over the past year, net job growth has averaged 125,100 positions per month. This is barely above the level of growth needed to keep pace with population growth, and it is grossly insufficient for replacing the jobs lost during the Great Recession.”

The inability of the current pace of job growth to alter employment conditions was evident in the October household survey. Last month, 13.8 million Americans (9 percent of the labor force) were jobless and seeking work. While the unemployment rate and number of unemployed individuals dropped over the past year, the share of the population with a job remained depressed. In October, the share of the adult population that was employed (58.4 percent) remained at a level last seen in the early 1980s.

Another cause for concern is the fact that long-term unemployment remains elevated. Last month, 42.4 percent of all unemployed workers had been out of work for at least 27 weeks. A year ago, the comparable figure was 42.1 percent.

In October, proportionally more adult male workers were unemployed than female ones (8.8 percent vs. 8 percent). Similarly, unemployment rates were higher among Black (15.1 percent) and Hispanic workers (11.4 percent) than among White ones (8 percent). The unemployment rate among teenagers was 24.1 percent. Between September and October, the unemployment rate among Black workers fell, but the rates for most every other major demographic group held steady.

Additionally, 7.7 percent of all veterans were unemployed in October. The unemployment rate among recent veterans (served after September 2001) was 12.1 percent.

“Jobs remained scarce in October,” added Quinterno. “This led many individuals simply to abandon their job searches. Compared to a year ago, America has a labor force that is essentially no different in size despite population growth, while the number of working-age individuals who are effectively jobless remains at a disturbingly elevated level.”

A more extensive measure of labor underutilization is the underemployment rate, which equaled 16.2 percent in October. Further evidence of the difficulty in finding a job is that, among unemployed workers, the average time out of work in October equaled 39.4 weeks, compared to 33.9 weeks a year ago.

“The American economy did not create jobs in any meaningful way in October, nor has it managed to create many jobs over the past year. Labor market conditions clearly have not improved. While the scope and contours of the problems are plainly evident in the data, policymakers are actively refusing to pursue solutions that would help millions of Americans. Maintaining the status quo only will lead to more terrible job reports like the October one.”

28.10.2011 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Local Job Markets Little Changed From Last Year

CHAPEL HILL (October 28, 2011) — Between September 2010 and September 2011, unemployment rates rose in 87 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and in 13 of the state’s 14 metropolitan areas. At the same time, 37 counties and 6 metros had labor forces in September that were smaller in size compared to one year ago. These findings come from new estimates from the Employment Security Commission.

“Unemployment rates increased across most of North Carolina over the past year,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “In 58 counties, at least 10 percent of the labor force was unemployed in September, up from 37 counties a year ago. Similarly, the size of the labor force fell in 37 counties, which suggests that joblessness is more widespread than reflected in the official unemployment measure.”

Since the economy fell into recession in December 2007, North Carolina has lost, on net, 7.4 percent of its payroll employment base (-308,600 positions) and has seen its unadjusted unemployment rate climb from 4.7 percent to 10 percent. In September, the state lost 22,200 more payroll jobs than it added. Since bottoming out in February 2010, the state’s labor market has netted an average of 758 jobs per month, resulting in a cumulative gain of just 14,400 positions (+0.9 percent).

Between August and September, unemployment rates fell in all 100 counties. Unemployment rates nevertheless were at or above 10 percent in 58 counties. Individual county rates ranged from 5.1 percent in Currituck County to 17.3 percent in Scotland County. Compared to a year ago, unemployment rates were higher in 87 counties, unchanged in one county, and lower in 12 counties.

“Non-metropolitan labor markets remained particularly weak in September,” added Quinterno. “Last month, 11 percent of the non-metro labor force was unemployed, compared to 9.6 percent of the metro labor force. Over the year, the size of the rural labor force and the number of employed rural residents rose by 1.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, but the number of unemployed individuals jumped by 7.5 percent. This dynamic drove the unemployment rate to 11 percent from 10.3 percent. Compared to December 2007, the non-metro labor force now is 2.9 percent smaller. Similarly, the number of employed rural residents has fallen by 8.5 percent, while the number of unemployed rural persons has nearly doubled.”

Last month, unemployment rates rose in 13 of the state’s metropolitan areas and held steady in one metro, Charlotte-Gastonia. Rocky Mount had the highest unemployment rate (13.4 percent), followed by Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir (12 percent). Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest rate (7.7 percent), followed by Asheville (8.1 percent).

Compared to September 2010, unemployment rates were higher in 87 counties and 13 metros. Moreover, 37 counties and 6 metros had smaller labor forces. Among metros, Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir recorded the largest decline in the size of its labor force (-1.4 percent), followed by Wilmington (-0.7 percent). Fayetteville posted the largest increase (+3.5 percent), followed by Winston-Salem (+2.2 percent), and Raleigh-Cary (+1.5 percent).

In the long term, any meaningful recovery will hinge on growth in the state’s three major regions: Charlotte, the Research Triangle, and the Piedmont Triad. Yet growth remains sluggish. Collectively, employment in these three metro regions has fallen by 3.9 percent since December 2007, and the combined September unemployment rate in the three metros equaled 9.4 percent. Of the three broad regions, the Research Triangle had the lowest unemployment rate (8.3 percent), followed by the Piedmont Triad (10.2 percent), and Charlotte (11 percent).

“North Carolina’s local labor markets recorded few improvements over the past year,” said Quinterno. “Statewide job growth ground to a halt, and as a result, unemployment actually increased across much of the state. Unfortunately, little evidence suggests that the trends will change anytime soon absent policy intervention.”

“With only three months left in the year, 2011 is well on its way to being yet another lost year for North Carolina’s local job markets.”