State unemployment hits 7 percent

The holiday season may be approaching, but there are few glad tidings from the N.C. Employment Security Commission, which reported on Nov. 21 that the state’s unemployment rate hit 7 percent in October. That compares to a 6.5 percent rate nationally — the highest in 14 years.

Employment in North Carolina did increase by 5,076 workers in October. It was the second consecutive monthly employment increase for the state and third in the last four months. However, the number of unemployed workers in North Carolina remains at an all-time high.

“There was a slight increase in unemployment [from 6.9 percent in September], but we are encouraged by the increase in employment for the third time in four months,” said ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. “Both global and national trends continue to impact the state’s economy and employment picture. The job market throughout the state remains a very competitive one and we see that in our offices every day.”

With the increase, seasonally adjusted employment is at 4,264,519. Unemployment increased by 912 workers, to 318,997. Since this time last year, unemployment has increased by 106,843 people. The labor force, over the year, has increased by 52,873 people. Employment is down by 53,970 workers since October 2007. The state rate in October 2007 was 4.7 percent.

Seasonally adjusted, total non-farm-industry employment, as gathered through the monthly survey, decreased by 5,400 jobs over the past month, and has decreased by 20,400 since October 2007 to 4,148,200. The largest over-the-month increase occurred in Educational and Health Services (+3,300). The largest decrease was in Other Services (-5,300) and Manufacturing (-4,300).

County and metro area unemployment figures are set to be released Dec. 2.

— Hal L. Millard, staff writer


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4 thoughts on “State unemployment hits 7 percent

  1. DonM

    For some needed balance to this oh-so-dreary bit:

    “ASHEVILLE – Despite an economic downturn, jobs were still growing this fall in Asheville, according to new figures released today by the Asheville Metro Business Research Center of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Total employment in the Asheville metro was up by 1,000 jobs in September 2008 versus a year ago earlier. The positive result means Asheville experienced its 55th straight month of record year-over-year growth.

    Although Asheville’s rate of growth equaled a mild 0.6 percent, it was greater than the state and nation, according to Tom Tveidt, director of the research center. Of the 310 U.S. metros nationwide tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 164 reported net job losses, including three in North Carolina.”

  2. Hal L. Millard

    Thanks, DonM, for the “needed balance,” and congratulations on your ability to cut and paste what the Citizen-Times pretty much already cut and pasted from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.

    Pardon the snarkiness; it’s certainly not personal. But perhaps we circulate in different circles. In my personal and professional orbit, folks who work in jobs and professions ranging from food/beverage to real estate to construction to retail, and numerous other trades, are losing their jobs. Others that are lucky to still have work are bemoaning the fact that business is the worst it has been in recent memory. The situation is leading many to simply give up on Asheville and move to areas with a more diverse economy.

    And what of these jobs that are being created? Most pay wages that would be laughable in most other parts of the nation where the cost of living is actually lower, while the balance of these positions are specialized niche jobs with required skills that shut out the vast majority of those most in need of work.

  3. DonM

    Hello Hal,
    We probably know quite a few of the same folks around here. My business-owner friends certainly agree that their revenues are down 5-20 percent, depending on the type of business. None of the ones that I know have laid anyone off yet except for one in the news recently.

    As for the food & beverage and real estate sectors, the places I frequent and the agents I know are still doing well. Not as well, but well. The bars and restaurants that I frequent (and I mean frequent) all have the same people as last year and more than the year before. Construction is demonstrably off.

    As for the niche jobs you speak of, I’ll never understand why some people are caught blindsided by realities that have been present for decades. Traditional employment in this area like textiles and low-skill assembly work has been pretty much dead and buried for some time. What remains is on life-support. Anyone with the foresight and gumption to recognize and act upon that has gone on to retrain themselves. It’s not always easy to do but it’s always doable.

    I think Asheville’s past 5 or 10 year prosperity allowed many, many people to ride the wave of that rising prosperity. People who perhaps shouldn’t have entered business and the people they employed who thought everything was rosy. That rapid expansion has contracted a bit. The result is a winnowing of weaker business models in many cases.

    We have a plethora of restaurants in Asheville and our environs. Some excellent, some not. Same for artists and galleries. Some excellent, some not. The list goes on. If you’re really good at what you do, you’ll make it. You’ll stand apart from the rest.

    “…The situation is leading many to simply give up on Asheville and move to areas with a more diverse economy….”

    Since many of these folks came here from somewhere else, why is that a bad thing? One does what one needs to do–move, retrain, accept lass, whatever.

    Bottom line is your article was about the the state. I posted about our locality. Your last paragraph merely states the obvious–food/beverage, retail sales and service industries have never paid well in any location. That’s not news. Neither is retooling oneself to compete on a higher economic playing field.

  4. dave

    In other words, well-to-do retirees in downtown condos have not been layed-off.

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