N.C. Justice Center: Jobs picture worse than it looks, Asheville one example

Full announcement from the N.C. Justice Center:

RALEIGH (January 7, 2014) — Despite falling unemployment rates, most of North Carolina’s metro areas are still waiting for meaningful job creation, according to new jobless numbers released by the Division of Employment Security this morning.

In 11 of 14 of the state’s metro areas, the drop in the unemployment rate between November 2012 and November 2013 was driven by discouraged workers giving up on finding jobs and dropping out of the labor force altogether—and not by large-scale employment growth. In nine metros areas, fewer jobs were created in 2013 than in 2012.

“Too many of North Carolina’s metro areas are waiting for a jobs recovery. We’re basically seeing the unemployed moving out of the labor force altogether, rather than into jobs, largely because there are just not enough available job openings,” said Allan Freyer, Public Policy Analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “If our metros were truly seeing big improvements in unemployment, we would expect to see the number of employed people grow by the same amount that the number of unemployed people goes down. But we don’t, because the labor force is also dropping.”

Several examples include:

In Wilmington, less than 15 percent of the drop in unemployed people over the past year came from those workers moving into jobs, despite seeing its unemployment rate fall from 9.3 percent to 7.2 percent. The other 85 percent simply dropped out of the labor force altogether, due to the lack of available jobs for workers. Wilmington actually created 2,600 more jobs in 2012 than in 2013.

Although Winston-Salem saw its unemployment rate drop from 8.5 to 6.4, barely 19 percent of the drop in unemployed people over the past year came from those workers moving into jobs. The other 81 percent simply dropped out of the labor force altogether. Wilmington actually created 600 more jobs in 2012 than in 2013.

In Greensboro, only 30 percent of the of the drop in unemployed people over the past year came from those workers moving into jobs, despite seeing its unemployment rate fall by 2.3 points. The other 70 percent simply dropped out of the labor force altogether.

Although Asheville saw its unemployment rate drop 2 points over the last year, less than 11 percent of the drop in unemployed people over the past year came from those workers moving into jobs. The other 89 percent simply dropped out of the labor force altogether. Asheville actually created 1,700 more jobs in 2012 than in 2013.

In Raleigh, one of the few metros that saw higher job growth in 2013 than in 2012, just half of the drop in unemployed people over the past year came from those workers moving into jobs, despite seeing the unemployment rate fall from 7.3 percent to 5.4 percent. The other half simply dropped out of the labor force altogether, due to the lack of available jobs for workers.


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