Policy Points

14.10.2009 Policy Points No Comments

NC’s Labor Market: A Recap

On Friday, the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina will release the employment report for September, the 21st month of the recession. As the downturn nears the two-year mark, where does the state’s labor market stand?

image 1As of August, the recession had led North Carolina’s non-farm employers to eliminate, on net , 253,400 payroll positions. Consequently, payroll employment is now 6 percent smaller than it was in December 2007 (graph, left).

In terms of job losses, the current recession was a slow starter. Significant net losses did not start until fall 2009, with heavy losses occurring every month between 11/08 and 3/09. In fact, that period accounts for 64 percent of all the job losses that have occurred during the recession. Although the pace of job losses has moderated since April, the overall trend remains a downward one.

image 2Job losses have been relatively widespread (graph, right). With the exception of the health care/education and government fields, payrolls have contracted in every major industry. The greatest numerical losses have occurred in manufacturing, construction, and professional services while the greatest proportional declines have occurred in construction and manufacturing.

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13.10.2009 Policy Points No Comments

Around the Dial – Oct. 13

Economic policy reports and media stories of interest:

13.10.2009 Policy Points No Comments

North Carolina’s Changing State House

Despite the recession, North Carolina continues to gain residents. Projections suggest that the population of the Tar Heel State is likely to reach 9.6 million in 2010, up from 8 million in 2000 (a 19 percent rise). Although most of the state’s counties are gaining residents, much of the growth is occurring in a handful of metropolitan counties.

Because seats in the state legislature are apportioned on the basis of population, growth patters will shape the redistricting that will occur following the 2010 census. A new analysis by the Program on Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill projects that the redistricting will result in a further consolidation of political power in the state’s metropolitan areas.

Key findings include the following:

  • Wake County (Raleigh) has grown by close to 50 percent, and as a result, it likely will gain two seats in the state House and one seat in the state Senate. The Triangle counties of Durham and Johnston also should gain representation.
  • Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) and some of its surrounding counties also have grown and should gain representation, though fights among the counties over how to allocate that representation may arise.
  • Because the Piedmont Triad is growing at a slower rate, its representation may hold level or decline.
  • The coastal communities surrounding Wilmington also are growing, and Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover counties all are likely to gain seats.

Complete county-level projections are available here.

12.10.2009 Policy Points No Comments

Around the Dial – Oct. 12

Economic policy reports and media stories of interest:

12.10.2009 Policy Points No Comments

The Financial Crisis: One Year Later

Last fall, the U.S. financial system was in imminent danger of collapse. To stave off that failure, Congress, federal agencies and the Federal Reserve engineered a bailout. One year later, where do things stand? What have the American taxpayers received in exchange for the aid given to the financial sector? What reforms have been undertaken?

To answer those questions, the PBS show Bill Moyers Journal devoted last weekend’s episode to exploring the state of reform and whether or not the U.S. missed a chance to better the financial system.

Click here to view a discussion among Moyers, MIT economist Simon Johnson, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur.