Wednesday, February 5, 2014

North Carolina Republicans Distort Fall in Unemployment Rate – Claim Success for Policies Not Yet Put in Place

And Refuse Blame for Policies That Drives Thousands Out of the Work Force

In North Carolina radical Republicans took over state government beginning in 2013, and put in place policies to reduce unemployment insurance.  They now claim this policy was a resounding success.

The state’s December rate tumbled to 6.9 percent from 7.4 percent the month before, a level last seen in September 2008. Just a year earlier, in December 2012, North Carolina’s jobless rate was 9.4 percent.

The data was issued Tuesday by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce. The U.S. jobless rate for December was 6.7 percent.

Gov. Pat McCrory cited the data as a validation of Republican economic policies.

“The trend of more people getting back to work in North Carolina is great news for our state,” McCrory said in a statement. “We continue to see that our pro-growth and pro-jobs policies enacted over the last year are having a positive impact and getting people into jobs.”

Not so fast, facts, those things which often bother conservatives tell a different story.

Economists are not so sanguine about North Carolina’s employment statistics for December and for all of 2013.

North Carolina added 11,100 jobs in December, nearly half in trade, transportation and utilities, but also made noteworthy gains in financial activities and health services. If the state added that amount of jobs every month, it would be well on its way to recovery.

In reality, however, North Carolina created fewer jobs in 2013 than it did in 2012. Last year’s jobs gain was 64,500, roughly two-thirds of the 89,900 jobs created in 2012.

So how did the unemployment rate fall?  Simple, North Carolina cut off unemployment benefits to thousands of persons, and many left the work force, unable to find jobs and so they gave up looking.

Just as disconcerting, the state’s labor force shrunk last year, eliminating nearly 111,000 people from the pool of those who are working or looking for work. Such a shrinkage artificially reduces the jobless rate because legions of jobless people don’t show up in the data.

“It’s the first labor force shrinkage since the end of the recession,” said Allan Freyer, public policy analyst for the Budget & Tax Center at the N.C. Justice Center. “It’s unprecedented, the size of it.”

So nice going Republicans, you took a bad situation and made it worse for working families.  And guess what in 2014 your massive tax cut for the wealthy and tax increase on working families will have gone into effect.  Just another day at the office for conservatives.

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