NC jobless rate drops

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North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell in November for the second consecutive month, but the job market nonetheless remains bleak, reports the Charlotte Observer.

The unemployment rate for North Carolina was 10 percent in November, down from 10.4 percent in October, according to seasonally adjusted data released by the state Employment Security Commission.

The decline in the statewide unemployment rate mirrored that of the national rate, which dropped .4 percentage points to 8.6 percent last month. Some 43 states reported that their jobless rates had declined in November while 29 states saw payrolls increase, according to Bloomberg News.    Just four states and the District of Columbia have a higher unemployment rate than North Carolina, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A year ago, the statewide unemployment rate was 9.8 percent. Since then, the ranks of the unemployed have increased by 12,215.    November unemployment numbers for the Triangle are scheduled to be released Jan. 4.  In October, the Triangle unemployment rate stood at 8.7 percent.Over the past 12 months, private sector jobs have risen in North Carolina by 30,800, a 1 percent gain. But that increase has been partially offset by a 1.6 percent drop – 11,200 jobs – in state and local government jobs. The bottom line: The number of jobs statewide has risen a scant one-half percent over the past year.

“Layoffs in the government sector continue to be a big drag on the economy,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist for Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte.    Vitner predicts jobs will grow at a better-but-still-modest rate of 1.5 percent next year, which would drop the state’s unemployment rate to 9.5 percent.    “I’m being careful not to over-promise,” he said. “I’ll be happy if I’m wrong and it falls to 9 percent or 8.5 percent or something.”    Read More.

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