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02.07.2010 News Releases Comments Off on Few Fireworks In June Jobs Report

Few Fireworks In June Jobs Report

CHAPEL HILL (July 2, 2010) – The national employment report for June offers little evidence of a sustained economic recovery. Last month, employers eliminated 125,000 more payroll positions than they added. An expected fall in temporary census employment drove that decline; after accounting for it, the economy gained 100,000 positions, a level insufficient to either keep pace with workforce growth or re-absorb jobless individuals.

“There is little in the June employment report to celebrate,” said John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Payroll employment fell sharply due to the ending of temporary census positions. When census jobs are excluded, the nation netted just 100,000 positions, of which 83,000 were in the private sector.”

In June, the nation’s employers shed 125,000 more payroll positions than they added. Losses occurred primarily in the public sector due to the elimination of 225,000 temporary census jobs. When census reductions are excluded, the economy gained 83,000 private-sector positions and 17,000 public-sector ones. The largest private-sector gains occurred in professional and business services (+46,000), primarily in the temporary help services sub-industry (+20,500), followed by leisure and hospitality services (+37,000). Construction payrolls fell by 22,000 positions due primarily to declines in nonresidential construction. All other major industry groups recorded little or no change.

“The June employment report is an uninspiring one that highlights just how dependent the economy is upon governmental supports,” noted Quinterno. “The private-sector proved unable to offset the drop in temporary census employment. In fact, during the first half of 2010, the private sector added an average of just 98,800 jobs each month.”

Weak job prospects also are reflected in the June household survey. Last month, 14.6 million Americans – 9.5 percent of the labor force –  were jobless and actively seeking work. Proportionally more adult male workers were unemployed than female ones (9.9 percent vs. 7.8 percent). Similarly, unemployment rates were higher among Black (15.4 percent) and Hispanic workers (12.4 percent) than among White ones (8.6 percent). The unemployment rate among teenagers was 25.7 percent.

Furthermore, newly available data show that 8 percent of all veterans were unemployed in June; the rate among veterans who had served since September 2001 was 11.5 percent.

“In developments inconsistent with a recovery, 652,000 individuals left the labor force in June, and the share of the adult population engaged in economically productive activities fell,” added Quinterno. “Compared to a year ago, the labor force is smaller, fewer people are employed, and the share of the labor force that is unemployed is unchanged.”

Job remained hard to find in June. Last month, 45.5 percent of unemployed workers had been jobless for at least six months with the average spell of unemployment lasting for 35.2 weeks. Many other individuals stopped looking, and counting those individuals and those working part-time on an involuntary basis brings the underemployment rate to 16.5 percent.

“The reduction in temporary census hiring in June exposed just how weak the labor market really is,” observed Quinterno. “The economy remains dependent on public supports and appears unable to stand on its own.”

30.06.2010 News Releases Comments Off on Midyear Job Market Review Released

Midyear Job Market Review Released

CHAPEL HILL (June 30, 2010) – North Carolina’s job market limped through the first half of 2010. While not shedding jobs at the frantic pace of 2008-09, North Carolina’s job market recorded little progress during the first part of the calendar year. Furthermore, considerable evidence suggests that more difficulties are in store for 2010’s second half.

These findings come from a midyear review of the North Carolina job market released today by South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. Available on Policy Points, the firm’s blog, the review summarizes major developments to date.

“Although North Carolina netted jobs during the first half of 2010, the growth was insufficient to reverse the serious damage inflicted by the recession,” says John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd. “Much of the growth was attributable to temporary developments caused by public policies, but the underlying trends remain concerning.”

The review notes that the second half of 2010 may be a difficult time for the state’s labor market. Many of the policy supports that helped during the first half of the year are unwinding, and it is unclear what will take their place in supporting demand. And the employment and spending reductions that will result from state budget cuts only will compound the difficulties.

The review is particularly concerned about the problem of long-term unemployment.

“If the worsening pattern of long-term unemployment is not reversed soon, many individuals will become effectively unemployable due to the deterioration of their skills, stiff competition, and negative stereotyping on the part of employers,” warns Quinterno. “At that point a serious cyclical employment problem will become an intractable structural one.”

The full review is available at http://www.sbnstrategies.com/?p=3210

25.06.2010 News Releases Comments Off on Another Unimpressive Jobs Report

Another Unimpressive Jobs Report

CHAPEL HILL (June 25, 2010) –  North Carolina’s local labor markets underwent few real changes in May, according to preliminary data released today by the Employment Security Commission. In May, 53 counties posted double-digit unemployment rates, and 21 counties recorded unemployment rates of at least 12 percent.

“The May employment report is unimpressive,” says John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “While local unemployment rates have fallen over the past year, they remain unacceptably high. Perhaps the best that can be said is that conditions could be worse.”

Since the recession’s onset in December 2007, North Carolina has shed 6.1 percent of its payroll employment base (-254,000 positions) and has seen its unadjusted unemployment rate climb from 4.7 percent to 9.9 percent.

Every part of the state experienced weak labor markets in May. Unemployment rates exceeded 10 percent in 53 counties, and in 21 counties at least 12 percent of the labor force was jobless and actively seeking work. County unemployment rates ranged from 4.9 percent in Currituck County to 16 percent in Scotland County.

“Labor markets in non-metropolitan communities are particularly weak,” adds Quinterno. “Last month, 10.8 percent of the non-metro labor force was unemployed, compared to 9.5 percent of the metro labor force. More alarmingly, the non-metropolitan labor force continued to shrink. Since December 2007, the non-metropolitan labor force has contracted by 1.1 percent. Many of those missing individuals are effectively jobless.”

Last month, unemployment rates fell in 10 of the state’s metropolitan areas, and 11 metros gained more jobs than they lost. Nevertheless, five metros posted double-digit unemployment rates. The Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir area had the highest unemployment rate (13 percent) followed by Rocky Mount (12.9 percent). The lowest metro unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in Durham-Chapel Hill.

“Because of the lack of seasonal adjustments, monthly fluctuations in local unemployment rates must be interpreted cautiously, especially at this time of year,” warns Quinterno. “A better comparison is an annual one.”

Compared to May 2009, unemployment rates were the same or lower in 99 counties and 14 metro areas. Yet compared to a year ago, 73 counties and four metro areas had smaller labor forces. Among metros, Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir posted the largest decline in the size of its labor force (-2.9 percent), followed by Rocky Mount (-2 percent). Jacksonville posted the largest gain (+5.4 percent).

“Despite stabilization in labor market conditions, the long-term employment picture remains the same,” cautions Quinterno. “The sustained job growth needed to absorb displaced individuals and new workers simply isn’t occurring.”

In the long term, any meaningful recovery will be driven by growth in the state’s three major metro regions: Charlotte, the Research Triangle, and the Piedmont Triad. Yet job growth in 2010 has been sluggish. Collectively, employment in these three major metro regions has fallen by 3.8 percent since the start of the recession. The overall May unemployment rate in the major metros equaled 9.5 percent. Of the three areas, the Research Triangle had the lowest May unemployment rate (8 percent), followed by the Piedmont Triad (10.4 percent) and Charlotte (11.4 percent).

“The second half of 2010 could be even more difficult for North Carolinians seeking work,” observes Quinterno. “Private-sector job growth is anemic, and much recent growth has resulted from government actions like temporary census hiring, home tax credits, emergency unemployment, and recovery spending. Many of those supports are ending, and it is unclear what will take their place in supporting overall demand.”

Consider the emergency unemployment benefits that the U.S. Congress has failed to extend. Explains Quinterno: “Over the last 12 months, unemployed North Carolinians received $5.5 billion in regular state payments and federal emergency benefits. These payments generated an estimated $9 billion in statewide economic activity. In May, the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program alone generated $383 million in economic activity. Congress’ decision to allow that funding to expire will exacerbate the weak employment conditions found  across the state.”

18.06.2010 News Releases Comments Off on Less Than Meets The Eye

Less Than Meets The Eye

CHAPEL HILL (June 18, 2010) – The May employment report for North Carolina paints a picture of a fragile labor market. Last month, the state added 12,900 more payroll positions than it lost. The gains were concentrated in the public sector due to significant hiring by the federal government, most likely for temporary census positions.

“The May employment report is less impressive than it appears,” says John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Private-sector payrolls contracted, and net job growth overwhelmingly was driven by public-sector hiring, primarily by the federal government.”

In May, employers added 12,900 more positions than they eliminated. The public sector netted 16,100 positions with federal hiring accounting for 80 percent of the total. Total private-sector payrolls, in contrast, fell by 3,200 positions. Among private industries, manufacturing shed the most positions (-2,900) followed by leisure and hospitality services (-2,700), Those losses were offset by gains in professional and business services (+1,600) and trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,300). And a revision to the April data raised net payroll growth for that month from 7,500 to 10,200.

“So far in 2010, payroll employment in North Carolina has grown by 31,300 positions, which is only slightly greater than the number needed to keep pace with population growth,” notes Quinterno. “The private sector has netted just 14,100 positions, and many of the public-sector jobs that have been gained likely are temporary ones. This is not the road to a swift and sustainable recovery.”

Despite a recent moderation in job losses, conditions stagnated over the past year. Compared to May 2009, the state had 3,300 fewer jobs (-0.1 percent). In terms of individual industries, construction (-22,600) and manufacturing (-21,600) lost the greatest number of positions over the past year, while construction declined the most in relative terms (-11.6 percent). Government employment grew the most in actual (+39,900 positions) and relative (+5.6 percent) terms. Since December 2007, North Carolina has lost, on net, 254,000 positions or 6.1 percent of its payroll employment base.

Stabilizing labor market conditions are reflected in May’s household data. Last month, the labor force contracted by 0.1 percent as 6,027 individuals stopped working or seeking work. The number of employed individuals rose, and the number of unemployed individuals declined. The unemployment rate therefore dipped from 10.8 percent to 10.3 percent. Since the start of the recession, the number of unemployed Tar Heels has grown by 123.3 percent, and the unemployment rate has jumped from 4.7 percent to 10.3 percent.

“The second half of 2010 could be quite difficult for North Carolinians seeking work,” cautions Quinterno. “Private-sector job growth is anemic, and much of the recent growth has resulted from such government actions as temporary census hiring, housing tax credits, emergency unemployment insurance benefits, and recovery act funding. Many of these policy supports are ending, and it is unclear what will take their place in supporting overall demand.”

04.06.2010 News Releases Comments Off on At Least The Census Bureau Is Hiring

At Least The Census Bureau Is Hiring

CHAPEL HILL (June 4, 2010) – The national employment report for May is an unimpressive one. Last month, employers added 431,000 more payroll positions than they eliminated. Almost all of the gain, however, was attributable to the hiring of temporary workers by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The May payroll report is much less impressive than it first seems,” said John Quinterno, a principal at South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm specializing in economic and social policy. “Almost all job growth was due to temporary hiring by the U.S. Census Bureau. When census hiring is excluded, the nation netted just 20,000 positions in May.”

In May, the nation’s employers added 431,000 more payroll positions than they cut. Gains occurred primarily in the public sector due to the hiring of 411,000 temporary census workers by the federal government. The rest of the economy netted just 20,000 positions. The largest private-sector gains occurred in manufacturing (+29,000) and in professional and business services (+22,000), primarily in the temporary help services sub-industry. Construction payrolls fell by 35,000 positions, which erased many of the industry’s recent gains. All other major industry groups recorded little or no change.

“The May employment report is an uninspiring one that highlights just how dependent the economy is upon policy supports and government action,” noted Quinterno. “If not for temporary census hiring, the numbers would be much worse.”

Weak job prospects also are reflected in the May household survey. Last month, 15 million Americans – 9.7 percent of the labor force –  were jobless and actively seeking work. Proportionally more adult male workers were unemployed than female ones (9.8 percent vs. 8.1 percent). Similarly, unemployment rates were higher among Black (15.5 percent) and Hispanic workers (12.4 percent) than among White ones (8.8 percent). The unemployment rate among teenagers was 26.4 percent.

Furthermore, newly available data show that 7.8 percent of all veterans were unemployed in May; the rate among veterans who had served since September 2001 was 10.6 percent.

“In developments inconsistent with recovery, 322,000 individuals left the labor force in May, and the share of the adult population engaged in economically productive activities fell,” added Quinterno. “Compared to a year ago, the labor force is smaller, fewer people are employed, and more people are unemployed.”

Jobs remained hard to find in May. Last month, 46 percent of all unemployed workers had been jobless for at least six months. Many other individuals simply stopped looking, and counting those individuals and those working part-time on an involuntary basis brings the underemployment rate to 16.6 percent.

“Strip away census hiring, and the May employment report is weak,” observed Quinterno. “The economy remains dependent on public supports, and it is unclear if it will be able to stand on its own as those supports fall away over the summer.”