News Releases

05.08.2011 News Releases, Policy Points No Comments

Nothing To Celebrate In July

CHAPEL HILL (August 5, 2011) – In July, the American economy added 117,000 more payroll jobs than it lost. While the private sector netted 154,000 positions, the public sector shed 37,000 jobs, due overwhelmingly to reductions by state and local governments. Also in July, 9.1 percent of the labor force was unemployed, while the underemployment rate equaled 16.1 percent. These findings come from today’s national employment report.

“Only in an economy as sickly as the current one could today’s employment report be called a ‘good’ one,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Job growth was anemic and joblessness remains at a shockingly high level. While the unemployment rate dropped slightly, the fall was attributable to people leaving the labor force rather than finding jobs.”

In July, the nation’s employers added 117,000 more payroll positions than they cut. Gains occurred entirely within the private sector (+154,000), while government payrolls fell by 37,000 position. The public sector decline was driven by reductions among state (-23,000) and local (-16,000) governments. In recent months, public-sector reductions have weighed down job growth; in July, public cuts offset 24 percent of the private gains.

Furthermore, the payroll employment estimates for May and June underwent upward revisions. With the revisions, the economy netted 99,000 jobs over those two months rather than the 43,000 positions previously reported.

Several private industries recorded job growth in July. Education and health services added the most positions, (+38,000), followed by professional and business services (+34,000), and trade, transportation and utilities (+28,000). The manufacturing sector netted 24,000 positions due almost entirely to increases in durable goods manufacturing. Financial activities shed the most positions on net (-4,000), followed by information (-1,000).

“Although better than the June report, the July employment report is yet more proof that the American jobs machine is badly broken,” noted Quinterno. “Over the past three months, net job growth has averaged just 72,000 positions. This is not what a recovery looks like.”

The inability of the current pace of job growth to alter employment conditions was reflected in the July household survey. Last month, 13.9 million Americans (9.1 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 force. In July, the share of the population participating in the labor force (63.9 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, 44.4 percent of all unemployed workers had been out of work for at least 27 weeks. A year ago, the comparable figure was 44.7 percent.

In July, proportionally more adult male workers were unemployed than female ones (9 percent vs. 7.9 percent). Similarly, unemployment rates were higher among Black (15.9 percent) and Hispanic workers (11.3 percent) than among White ones (8.1 percent). The unemployment rate among teenagers was 25 percent. Between June and July, unemployment rates for most every major demographic group varied little.

Additionally, 8.4 percent of all veterans were unemployed in July. The unemployment rate among recent veterans (served after September 2001) was 11.8 percent.

“Jobs remained scarce in July,” added Quinterno. “This led many individuals simply to abandon their job searches. All of the improvements in unemployment seen in July were due to people leaving the labor force rather than finding jobs. In fact, the number of employed Americans actually fell in July.”

A more extensive measure of labor underutilization is the underemployment rate, which equaled 16.1 percent in July. Further evidence of the difficulty in finding a job is that, among unemployed workers, the average time out of work rose in July to 40.4 weeks. A year ago, the comparable figure was 33.9 weeks.

“While not as bad as the June report, the July employment report shows that the American labor market is not healing itself. Conditions clearly are not improving, yet policymakers still have not acknowledged the magnitude of the problem,” observed Quinterno. “Absent aggressive action, joblessness will continue to blight American society.”

03.08.2011 News Releases No Comments

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.

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.”