News Releases

29.07.2011 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Still Seeking Signs Of A Recovery

CHAPEL HILL (July 29, 2011) – Between June 2010 and June 2011, unemployment rates rose in 43 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and in five of the state’s 14 metropolitan areas. At the same time, 64 counties and 11 metro areas had labor forces in June that were smaller than one year ago. These findings come from new estimates from the Employment Security Commission.

“June was a terrible month for local labor markets across North Carolina,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “There were few signs suggesting that any kind of meaningful recovery was underway.”

Since the economy fell into recession in December 2007, North Carolina has lost, on net, 7.2 percent of its payroll employment base (-301,100 positions) and has seen its unadjusted unemployment rate climb from 4.7 percent to the current level of 10.4 percent. In June, the state lost 9,500 more payroll jobs than it gained. Over the past year, employers cumulatively eliminated 2,700 more payroll jobs than they added.

Unemployment rates rose in 91 counties in June, held steady in three counties, and fell in six counties. Unemployment rates were at or above 10 percent in 68 counties. Individual county rates in June ranged from 5.5 percent in Currituck County to 17.1 percent in Scotland County. Compared to a year ago, unemployment rates were lower in 52 counties, unchanged in five counties, and higher in 43 counties.

“Labor markets in non-metropolitan communities remain especially pressured,” added Quinterno. “Last month, 11.3 percent of the non-metro labor force was unemployed, as opposed to 10 percent of the metro labor force. When compared to December 2007, the non-metro labor force is 2 percent smaller, while the metro labor force is 1.6 percent larger.”

Last month, unemployment rates rose in all of the state’s metropolitan areas. Rocky Mount had the highest rate (13.7 percent), followed by the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir area (12.5 percent). Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest rate (8 percent), followed by Asheville (8.2 percent).

Compared to June 2010, unemployment rates were higher in 43 counties and five metro areas. Moreover, 64 counties and 11 metro areas had smaller labor forces. Among metros, Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir (-3.2 percent) recorded the largest decline in the size of the labor force, followed by Goldsboro (-2.2 percent). Rocky Mount posted the largest increase (+1.1 percent), followed by Jacksonville (+0.8 percent) and Raleigh-Cary (+0.2 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 4.5 percent since December 2007, and the combined June unemployment rate in the three major metros equaled 9.8 percent. Of the three areas, the Research Triangle had the lowest unemployment rate (8.5 percent), followed by the Piedmont Triad (10.6 percent) and Charlotte (11.5 percent).

“North Carolina’s labor market remains down and out,” said Quinterno. “The job growth needed to restore full employment simply is not occurring. Going forward, there are more factors weighing against growth than propelling it forward. Most indicators are pointing in the wrong direction, and 2011 is shaping up to be another miserable year for North Carolina’s local job markets.”

22.07.2011 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Public-Sector Cuts Hobble N.C.’s Labor Market

CHAPEL HILL (July 22, 2011) – In June, employers in North Carolina eliminated 9,500 more payroll positions than they added, according to data released today by the Employment Security Commission. Private-sector job creation ground to a virtual halt, while the public sector shed 10,200 positions. The public-sector losses alone canceled out 42 percent of the private-sector job gains recorded in 2011.

“June was an abysmal month for North Carolina’s labor market,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “There was little evidence of any sort of recovery, and in several important respects, labor market conditions actually deteriorated.”

Last month, North Carolina employers cut 9,500 more payroll positions than they added. Net losses occurred exclusively in the public sector (-10,200, driven by a -7,600 decline in state government), while the private sector added 700 positions. Most private-sector industries posted little or no job growth in June. The one exception was leisure and hospitality services, which gained 4,400 positions; unfortunately, that gain was more than offset by the loss of 5,400 positions in professional and business services.

Also, a revision to the May data found that the state lost 2,800 more payroll jobs than first reported (-10,200 versus an original estimate of -7,400). With that revision, North Carolina has lost, on net, 301,000 positions, or 7.2 percent of its payroll base, since December 2007.

“Compared to December 2007, North Carolina has fewer payroll jobs in every major industry sector except for educational and health services and leisure and hospitality services,” noted Quinterno. “Even there, the growth has been modest.”

Between June 2010 and June 2011, North Carolina lost, on net, 2,700 jobs (a 0.1 percent decline). All of the growth that occurred in the private sector (+28,300 positions) was more than offset by losses in the public sector (-31,600). In terms of individual private industries, professional and business services grew the most in absolute terms (+12,000), while construction shed the most jobs in absolute and relative terms (-6,800, -3.8 percent). In the public sector, net job loss was driven by declines in state government (-15,500, -7.8 percent).

The household data for June also were alarming. Last month, the total number of employed individuals fell by 9,888 (-0.2 percent), while the number of unemployed individuals rose by 9,516 (+2.2 percent). The size of the workforce was essentially unchanged.

Over the year, the number of unemployed North Carolinians fell by 28,069 (-5.9 percent). Unfortunately, much of this decline was attributable to individuals exiting the labor force. Between June 2010 and June 2011, the size of the labor force contracted by 17,970 individuals (-0.4 percent). Over the year, the unemployment rate fell to 9.9 percent from 10.5 percent.

“North Carolina’s labor market remains down and out,” observed Quinterno. “Two years into a supposed recovery, the share of the adult population with a job actually is lower than was the case in December 2007. In June 2011, only 55.8 percent of working-age North Carolinians had jobs, compared to 62.4 percent in December 2007.”

“The June employment report offers yet more proof that the state’s labor market is not recovering,” added Quinterno. “Since the labor market bottomed out in December 2009, the total number of jobs in the state has increased by just 0.5 percent. Growth actually turned negative in recent months due to layoffs in the public sector. Sadly, nothing in the June jobs report suggests that any improvements are imminent.”

“2011 is shaping up to be yet another lost year for working North Carolinians.”

08.07.2011 News Releases, Policy Points Comments Off on Summertime Employment Blues: June 2011

Summertime Employment Blues: June 2011

CHAPEL HILL (July 8, 2011) – In June, the American economy added only 18,000 more payroll jobs than it lost. Most major industries recorded little net job growth in June, and as a result, the share of the labor force that was underemployed rose to 16.2 percent. These findings come from today’s national employment report.

“The national labor market is deteriorating,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Conditions have weakened throughout 2011, though earlier declines were attributed to one-time or seasonal factors. The June employment report exposes how weak the rationalizations have been and lays bare the stark fact that the American jobs machine is not working.”

In June, the nation’s employers added 18,000 more payroll positions than they cut. Gains occurred entirely within the private sector (+57,000), while government payrolls fell by 39,000 positions due mainly to cuts by local and state governments. In recent months, public-sector reductions have weighed down job growth; in June, for instance, government reductions offset 68.4 percent of the total private-sector gain.

Moreover, the payroll employment estimates for April and May were lowered. With the revisions, the economy netted 242,000 jobs over those two months rather than the 286,000 positions previously reported.

Private-sector payroll levels in most every major industry were flat in June. Leisure and hospitality services added the most positions (+34,000), followed by trade, transportation and utilities (+17,000). Financial activities shed the most positions on net (-15,000).

“The June employment report is a terrible one,” noted Quinterno. “Over the past three months, net job growth has averaged just 86,700 positions. This is not what a recovery looks like.”

The inability of the current pace of job growth to change employment conditions was reflected in the June household survey. Last month, 14.1 million Americans (9.2 percent of the labor force) were jobless and seeking work. While the unemployment rate and number of unemployed individuals dropped over the past year, so did the share of the population participating in the labor market. In June, the share of the population participating in the labor force (64.1 percent) remained at a level last seen in the early 1980s.

Another cause for concern is the fact the number of newly unemployed individuals has been trending upward throughout 2011. Last month, 21.7 percent of all unemployed individuals had been jobless for less than 5 weeks. At the other end of the spectrum, the share of workers unemployed for more than six months remained abnormally high. Last month, 44.4 percent of all unemployed workers had been out of work for at least 27 weeks.”

In June, proportionally more adult male workers were unemployed than female ones (9.1 percent vs. 8 percent). Similarly, unemployment rates were higher among Black (16.2 percent) and Hispanic workers (11.6 percent) than among White ones (8.1 percent). The unemployment rate among teenagers was 24.5 percent. Between May and June, unemployment rates for most every major demographic group showed little change.

Additionally, 8.8 percent of all veterans were unemployed in June. The unemployment rate among recent veterans (served after September 2001) was 13.3 percent.

“Jobs remained scarce in June,” added Quinterno. “Last month, the underemployment rate equaled 16.2 percent. Among unemployed workers, the average time out of work was 39.9 weeks.”

“The June employment report shows that the American labor market is not healing itself and that policymakers must take employment issues much more seriously,” observed Quinterno. “Absent focused attention and aggressive action, long-term joblessness is likely to become a permanent scar on American society.”

24.06.2011 News Releases, Policy Points Comments Off on May Local Employment Report

May Local Employment Report

South by North Strategies will not be releasing a written analysis of the May 2011 jobs report for local communities in North Carolina on the morning of June 24, 2011.

Firm representatives, however, will be available for comment via phone or email, preferably email. Interested journalists should contact John Quinterno at johnq[at]sbnstrategies[dot]com or 919-622-2392.

Thank you for your interest in South by North Strategies, Ltd.

 

17.06.2011 News Releases, Policy Points Comments Off on Job Growth Turns Negative In May

Job Growth Turns Negative In May

CHAPEL HILL (June 17, 2011) – In May, employers in North Carolina eliminated 7,400 more payroll positions than they added, according to data released today by the Employment Security Commission. May marked the first month in 2011 in which North Carolina lost more jobs than it gained; in fact, the May losses offset 22 percent of the job growth recorded earlier in the year.

“North Carolina’s labor market continues to spin its wheels,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “The recovery has not yet delivered much in the way of meaningful job growth.”

Last month, North Carolina employers cut 7,400 more payroll positions than they added. Net losses occurred in the private (-6,400) and public (-1,000) sectors. Among private industries, professional and business services lost, on net, the most positions (-4,000), followed by other services (-2,400), and trade, transportation, and utilities (-1,400). The losses were offset by gains in financial activities (+1,500) and construction (+900).

Also, a revision to the April data found that the state gained 2,400 fewer payroll jobs than first thought (+500 versus an original estimate of +2,900). With that revision, North Carolina has lost, on net, 288,700 positions, or 6.9 percent of its payroll employment base, since December 2007.

“So far in 2011, North Carolina’s labor market has gained just 26,200 more jobs than it has lost,” noted Quinterno. “Particularly alarming is the fact that growth has slowed as the year has unfolded. The labor market is not moving in the right direction.”

Between May 2010 and May 2011, North Carolina lost, on net, 1,000 jobs (a zero percent change). All of the growth that occurred in the private sector (+31,500 positions) was more than offset by losses in the public sector (-32,500). In terms of individual private industries, professional and business services grew the most in absolute and relative terms (+19,200, +4 percent), while construction shed the most jobs in absolute and relative terms (-8,000, -4.5 percent). In the public sector, net job loss occurred at the federal level (-17,400, due to temporary census hiring), at the state level (-5,800), and the local level (-9,300).

The household data for May, meanwhile, were unimpressive. Last month, the total number of employed individuals increased by 12,040 (+0.3 percent), while the number of unemployed individuals was essentially unchanged. The size of the workforce also grew by 12,139 individuals (+0.3 percent).

Over the year, the number of unemployed North Carolinians fell by 55,097 (-11.2 percent). Unfortunately, much of this decline was attributable to individuals exiting the labor force. Between May 2010 and May 2011, the size of the labor force contracted by 39,929 individuals (-0.9 percent). Over the year, the unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent from 10.8 percent.

“The developments of the past year have done little to close the state’s job gap or drive down unemployment to acceptable levels,” observed Quinterno. “The contraction in the size of the labor force remains a real concern. In fact, the share of the adult population with a job is lower now than it was in December 2007. In May 2011, 56.2 percent of working-age North Carolinians had jobs, compared to 62.4 percent in December 2007.”

“The May jobs report offers yet more proof that the state’s labor market is not mending itself,” added Quinterno. “Since the labor market bottomed out in December 2009, the total number of jobs in the state has increased by just 0.8 percent. Growth actually has slowed in recent months, and indicators suggest that few meaningful improvements will occur anytime soon.”